Trial and Suffering

Cypress sky and country2
Recently discovered painting by Van Gogh entitled “Cypress Sky and Country.”

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” — Helen Keller

Reckoning Love’s Labor Lost

You never intended to lose the thread
Of the labor of love that you lost.
You couldn’t have known, after so many years,
How the swells of the sea would be tossed.

Your heart and your mind lost their way many times,
But always the tide would return,
How could you have known how the world, on its own,
Would end up at such a wrong turn?

Throughout every life, as the years slowly pass,
We struggle and fight for our reasons,
We search for the answers to all of our questions,
We turn with each change in our seasons.

But the labor of love stands alone in our memory,
The tides of the heart swirl inside us;
We labor at last with the help of true longing,
We lean on the partner beside us.

The labor endures through the struggles and years,
We cling to the love that we’re losing;
The toll that it takes grips our souls in a vise,
We lose sight of the choice we are choosing.

So it’s true that the labor of love can be lost,
Not all of our loss can we reckon.
What is left we must salvage, and forge ever forward,
Til love once again we can beckon.

© October 2014 by JJHIII

10 thoughts on “Trial and Suffering

    1. Thanks for your comment, Tina. The necessity of love’s labor is frequently overlooked or not fully considered, especially when we first attend to the blossoming of such a potent emotion, and it can be discouraging when we discover, at last, how even many years of laboring may not be sufficient to sustain it. There’s no way for us to know with absolute certainty how life will unfold through the years, but any worthwhile endeavor requires a degree of labor in order to succeed, and in the long run, the effort itself may be where we find the most satisfaction and motivation to move forward through life. Warm regards….John H.

    1. So nice to hear from you, Love!

      I was fairly certain you would be able to relate to this poem, since you have labored long in love yourself, and know better than most how important this labor is in the grand scheme of things. Your blog is rich in tales of love’s labor, and I have missed your stories and musings on the nature of the human experience in the way only you can express it.

      Thanks for your visit and don’t be such a stranger! Warm regards….John H.

  1. If we can make it through the rocky times after the flame of passion can no longer be the only reason for being there, because the flame doesn’t burn as hot, and if we take the time to get to know the real reason why we are where we are, and have no regrets for paths not traveled, we’ll find that passion still burns. It’s not the passion we had, but it’s a deeper passion and it makes us smile to remember.

    1. Sonni,

      Your astute observation that we can still discern and discover a deeper passion, even after rocky times, struck me as being the very conclusion I was hoping for while writing this post. Being able to look back at the events in our lives, and see the developments that occurred as a result of participating in them, without losing hope, is one of the most challenging tasks of our lives. I agree that taking the time to figure out the “real reason why we are where we are, especially if we can do so with no regrets “for paths not traveled,” is both necessary and healing in the long term.

      I appreciate your thoughtful comment very much…..John H.

    1. It is always challenging to speak objectively about our trials and suffering, or at least to report our subjective experiences in these situations in a way that communicates them broadly enough to resonate with others. Your comment seems to affirm that I have succeeded to some degree with this entry, and I appreciate your thoughtful response.

      Warm regards….John H.

    1. You are welcome, missstilletto. I am pleasantly reassured by your comment that my attempt to uplift those whose labor of love has been lost succeeded to some extent.

      Such a loss challenges our notions of why we engage in love’s labors. I’m sure that the best way to ensure we do not labor in vain is to attend to our labors with sincerity and gentleness, and with mutual consideration and respect.

      I’ve been enjoying my visits to your blog recently and appreciate your thoughtful response.

      Regards…John H.

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