03 March 2013

Plenty of Light Left





King Solomon was said to own a ring on which was engraved the words “This too shall pass.” Whenever events turned against him and he suffered in depression he would look at the ring and receive comfort. This too shall pass. But when fortune seemed favorable to him and his kingdom again he would look at the ring: “This too shall pass.” Solomon’s ring reminded him of the ephemeral and temporary nature of life. He was wise to attend to the ring because from it he would know to ever be prepared for a turn of events. He was always expectantly ready though not always pleased.
     In Waiting for Godot Vladimir says, “The tears of the world are a constant quantity.” When one stops her weeping, then somewhere another begins to cry. On the one hand, this sentiment suggests that the level of unhappiness in the world never decreases. On the other hand, Vladimir suggests that the level of sorrow never increases either: it just stays constant though it occupies different sites. Nevertheless, Godot seems to me to express some Solomonic wisdom: if the tears of the world are a constant quantity, then this too for me, at least, shall pass.
A clichéd expression states “Where one door closes another opens.” This statement too expresses hope that all shall be well again, the latter a phrase from Julian of Norwich. Though both the expression and the sentiment from Julian of Norwich acknowledge a world where the tragic occurs and it is necessary to remember that all shall be well again.
And so I’ve been reconsidering Dylan’s song “Not Dark Yet.” For years it has been the bleakest of songs:
I was born here and I’ll die here against my will

I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still

Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb

I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from

Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer

It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there. 

And, no, it isn’t dark yet! There is still plenty of light here and now and though, there comes a time at the end of the day and a life when it is a comfort to turn off the lights and lay in the dark, that time is not yet. 
     No, dear daughters, it isn’t dark yetnot even closeand next week already we celebrate Daylight Savings Time and gain another hour of light. Celebrate!


3 Comments:

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06 March, 2013 13:57  
Anonymous Barbara said...

Alan,
Thank you for this post and the reminder that there is light and goodness yet in this world.
Your words bring hope and are a salve for the sadness yet in my soul.

I need to have one of those rings made!

06 March, 2013 21:00  
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