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Today was my counseling session. I have finally narrowed it down to once a month. I started when my dad was dying in the hospital, and kept on through the adjustment of caring for my widowed mom, and some continuing problems with my daughter. My counselor is a Christian, and I know God brought us together. Sometimes I think all we really need is for someone to listen. Luckily for me, my insurance pays some of the cost.

It’s funny, now that I am just going once a month, I have already weathered and worked through so many things, by the time I see her. But isn’t that true for all of us? Whose life is not a roller coaster of emotions and situations? The ebb and flow of life can be counted on.

One of my favorite authors is Kahlil Gibran, and in his book The Prophet, he writes:

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.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

I really relate to that. Who can make us weep, but the one we care so deeply about? We are suspended always between sorrow and joy. They are definitely inseparable.

He also writes about pain:

And a woman spoke, saying, “Tell us of Pain.”

And he said:

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

That’s incredibly beautiful to me, though I don’t claim to understand it in its entirety. But somewhere deep within, I get it. Pain and trials form character in us, like nothing else can. We learn to be steadfast and to overcome. And we learn to be weak, and fall on our knees before the One who is so much stronger. He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (We are weak, but He is strong. A truth we sang as children, but have yet to learn.) The Word also says, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Now that’s a thought, isn’t it? In the upside down world of the Kingdom, it’s another paradox.

God empties out everything that is “us” before He fills us with Himself and all His attributes. As long as we think we can do anything on our own, His grace and strength will not appear. But when we realize that we are nothing without Him, we can achieve the impossible.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “God will have no strength used in His battles, but the strength He imparts.”

I like what Kahlil Gibran wrote about accepting the “seasons of our heart”, just as we accept the seasons that nature goes through. The good thing about that is we learn that no one emotion will overtake us-good or bad, because like the seasons, we are changing, and going through a divinely inspired transformation. And sometimes it takes joy to transform us, but a good deal of the time, it requires sorrow. Why? I think because we are vulnerable in the place of sorrow. We give no place to self-reliance when we are hurting, and we are more apt to hear the voice of God, and to willingly receive His correction, guidance, and love.

What season of the heart are you in today?

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