Joy and Sorrow

I love M’s enthusiasm. He really enjoyed something, and thinks we should do it again. Well, we shall, next year (“we” is a larger group than just the two of us) and he wanted to find out about it immediately.

F brought us a cake. Possibly not GBBO winner, but perfectly acceptable iced sponge. She started apologising for it, including the fact that she had sliced it unevenly. I appreciated the generosity: F is sweet, and easy to be with. I wondered at the apologies. I would be sad to think she is in a permanent state of nerves, worried that her good deeds were not good enough, hurt that we had not eaten all her cake; though not all of us wanted cake. I want to reassure her, to appreciate her, to be clear in my own mind that she is thereby reassured and no longer worried. I want to fix her.

F met [impressive person]. “What did you think of her, then?” I asked.

“She’s quite intense” she said. Next day F was apologising again, unsure whether she should have said that woman is “intense”. “Well, she is intense,” I said. I wonder how much F had been worrying about that remark, how much worry is a part of her life…

[Impressive person] had poked M with a stick, and M was bothered. He wanted to know what the Rules were, so he could understand the rights and wrongs of the situation IP had described to him. As a lawyer, I want to use the rules for my benefit: I don’t want a lawyer who tells me what I can’t do. I hire a lawyer to tell me how I can do what I want, as JP Morgan said. And I have strong, conflicting feelings about that situation: I feel we should all get along; and at the same time that the wrong result was reached. Arguably I should be neutral. I wonder how possible it would be, though, to persuade M of a particular interpretation of rules, point him at my adversary, and retire, to giggle and gloat.

I was sitting in the Quaker meeting thinking on these things. I wish she would be less… I wish he would be more… I wish he would not do things like… I really would like to gather them as a hen gathers her brood under her wings; and they would not be gathered or fixed. Well of course not. Neither would I, in the same situation. And any of them, even F with her worry, would be lessened if I could mould her as I wish. Life may mould her.

Perhaps this is part of Khalil Gibran’s experience, it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. My recollection of that quote was poor, and googling it I found this.

The Earth is filled with the glory of God, as the waters cover the sea, I thought. Note the change of tense from the hymn, which quotes Isaiah. I was hard at my exercise, accepting the paradox: horrible and beautiful; pain and delight; surrender and control; joy and sorrow.

Cezanne, Medea

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