One of the most puzzling aspects of grief — and tough times in general (COVID-19?) — is the persistent inbreaking of joy. Just when life feels hardest, we find something to laugh about, some happiness to celebrate. “There’s just no accounting for happiness, or the way it turns up like a prodigal.” This poem was given to me by a friend further along in her widow journey. I am grateful for the light and hope she casts on the path before me. In the midst of grief or quarantine or whatever life throws at you today, I hope you can discover glimmers of happiness. (Read more here about grief and joy as companions.)
by Jane Kenyon
There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.
And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.