Riverboats and Bone Yards V

By Stu Whitley

This is the fifth post in a five-part series.

Is there any joy to be found in sadness? I believe there is.

Sadness is almost always about loss. If we are able to examine in a
serious way the nature of that loss, I think we would find a validation
of what we took to be good. In other words, sadness can be a
reaffirmation of the virtues we hold dear. This can be a bit tricky
though. For example, if one regrets the passage of youth for its own
sake, enormous and ultimately futile effort is needed to ignore the
ceaseless transformation that the natural world presents.

To live a good life, it’s important not to fool ourselves. It’s more important still not to fool ourselves over and over again.

Many middle-aged men live out a
prolonged existence and many women struggle to stay young as if to
avoid maturity altogether. Old age is seen as a defeat to be resisted
and feared. We have few role models of wise men and women at any life
stage, no helpful initiations, and few rites of passage. When we
respect the natural cycles of life, we find that each of life’s stages
has a spiritual dimension. Each stage contributes wisdom and experience
that we will draw upon in our spiritual growth.
—Jack Cornfield

T. S. Eliot, when he drafted the elemental prayer “Teach us to care and
not to care”, was simply asking for the capacity to respect the value
of each moment while instantly understanding—and accepting—that it will
dissolve into the next.