So, I have already informed most of ya’ll that I was a pretty morbid, or even “emo” kid. Among the treasury of poems I memorized, in addition to “Too Late” which I already discussed in my post, A Grieving Love, was the following poem by Robert Browning Hamilton:
“I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow;
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.”
My young life felt full of sorrow, to be fair, and I felt my hardships made me wiser than my more joyful, carefree classmates. I read at an advanced level (although my fear of tests made me score poorly), I hated the nonsense most kids talked about, and I felt like I never fit in. So this poem spoke to me for many, many years. I often felt that joy was cheap and meaningless. That in order for something to actually carry substance, it had to be touched by grief, touched by sorrow.
Recently, I have really been re-evaluating my worldview, something I will probably always do, and I’ve really been re-examining this poem. I believe grief has helped forge me into the sympathetic, forgiving, if flawed person I am today. I will always be grateful for that. There will be times I walk with sorrow later on, grief that will come and will show me how much more I have to learn from Her, but should I live walking constantly in Her shadow? Should I feel every person’s heartbreak, see the sadness in every person’s step, and live my life engulfed in a protective blanket of sorrow? Probably not. Have I lived like that for some time? No, but this thought has niggled at my mind whenever I feel myself laughing too loudly or reveling in just how blessed I am.
So, with those thoughts in mind, I wrote the following poem:
We all carry burdens, but joy is so precious when it is here – what is the harm in allowing it in? There’s nothing to fear from laughing with abandon, and there is no sense in worrying that you may seem foolish. What is a fool, anyway?
May happiness follow you all everywhere, on whatever journey you take.