January 17. “Sorrow makes us all children again, destroys all difference of intellect. The wisest knows nothing.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
I am not a person who is often without words. Usually I can talk about anything, with anyone. I can expound on what I’ve learned, and listen to what they are thinking and feeling as we get through things together. But in times of sorrow, all that I have learned in life seems to vanish from within, and like Emerson I become more childlike.
Children do not deal with things as adults do. As adults we want to put reason into the world, we went to know why things are so, and we want to feed our urge to control. We want to set the agenda in life, and then manage our way through it. This seems to be the way most people of Western culture act. As adults, we want order in life.
Children don’t have the lived experience to apply to situations. For them, almost everything is new and uncharted territory. They see the world as a huge, often confusing mess of things going on around them. As a result, they feel and express their emotions far more freely. When they are sad, they cry. When they love, they hug. When they are joyous, they shout. And when they don’t know what to make of things, they just let it happen. Children don’t have the same urge to put order to all things that we adults do.
When we are faced with sorrow and difficulty, many of us go back to this child-like view. It is in times like this that we need to let go of our need to control and make sense of the world. We need to release ourselves from the self-induced burden of knowing and just embrace the ambiguous. We need to learn to just be in the moment.
Today my reflection is on the power of not being in power. Today I am reflecting on the need to sometimes just let things happen and to allow whatever feelings may come. Today I am focusing on letting go.