Today was the day we got to hold our son for the first and last time. Really, truly hold him. With no wires, no tubes, no alarms. Just our small family in a room in the NICU, with paper towels taped over the window to protect the world from our anguish. Or to protect us from the raw world that awaited us when we said goodbye. All day I've been struggling with the memories, trying to keep the happier ones at the forefront, willing the hellish ones to recede. I wish I could say I've been successful. The raw vulnerability of this experience is just undeniable."Even in hell, it is possible to be joyful, because both heaven and hell are here on earth, created by our minds and actions. Transformation is always possible. We can transform pain to joy by keeping our hearts open.
Keeping an open heart in hell, we learn the art of vulnerability, the power of no protection. This is a spiritual power, not an egoic conquest. To learn its secret alchemy, we must be willing to accept suffering and vulnerability as a normal part of life. Because we are vulnerable, life hurts. We are not here to be free of pain. We are here to have our hearts broken by life. To learn to live with vulnerability and to turn pain into love.
"There is nothing so whole as a broken heart," said Rabbi Mendel of Kotzk, another Hasidic sage. The world breaks our hearts wide open, and it is the openness itself that makes us whole. The open heart is the doorway, inviting the angels in, revealing that the world--even in the pit of hell--is charged with the sacred."
-Miriam Greenspan, 2004.
Burke Franklinn: April 5, 2007-April 10, 2007
"When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."