It's a favorite. Over the course of 19 years, I've read it countless times. But, I must admit, not recently. So during my weekend of refueling, I read it. Three times. As usual, I was not disappointed. It is an impossibility for me to read the works of Kahlil Gibran and not do some thinking.
Have you ever attempted to move a mountain with your faith? You know, that faith, tiny as an itsy-bitsy mustard seed. Let me tell you...sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. There are times when that mountain is just not meant to be moved. Just because faith CAN move mountains does not mean faith WILL move mountains. And staring at it doesn't work either. If our faith won't move it, what happens next? For me, I think it's more about moving ourselves beyond the mountain.
I really can't stand it when people say things like:
"Well, if you just pray hard enough you'll get your miracle."
"If you just pray, with enough faith, that person will be healed."
"If you just have enough faith, it will all work out."
False, False, False. All of it. False. "It will all work out" is just not a phrase many people in the middle of a mountainous struggle care to hear. Most likely, any person with any amount of faith believes that things will eventually work out. The eventually part is what we have a problem with, ok? Not to mention that something "working out" does not mean it will be pain free. So, how about saying something like: "I'm sorry you are having to go through this." or "I am thinking of you, and keeping you in my prayers." I understand most people have the best of intentions, but intentions don't make those statements any easier to stomach.
Because of things taking place in my life, I've recently spent a lot of time thinking about children. All of them. The ones born still. The ones born healthy who grow to bring parents joy and worry beyond belief. The children not yet conceived, but yearned for by so many. The children who are sick, whose parents look ahead at a mountain that could be moved by faith, but in this case for reasons unknown to them, will not be. This will make sense later in the post, but I believe every child, those found on this earth as well as those not on this earth are "living arrows".
Our individual circumstances are vastly different, but there are common threads that weave us together. Love. Joy. Heartache. Sorrow. Mountains. My hope is that we face our mountains with courage. Use faith to move that mountain, because if it is to be moved, we can do it. And, if it is not meant to be moved, I hope we find the faith necessary to move ourselves beyond the mountain.
Kahlil Gibran wrote:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies, but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might,that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Here's to finding peace, joy, and happiness, even as we bend in the archer's hand.