by Jane Hirshfield
So few grains of happiness
measured against all the dark
and still the scales balance.
The world asks of us
only the strength we have and we give it.
Then it asks more, and we give it.
view the whole poem here
These lines leapt from the page and into my heart so directly and profoundly, I didn’t even realize there are two previous stanzas in this poem, meaningful in their own way, until much later. But it was these words that became a chant, a confirmation of my own beliefs.
And still the scales balance – despite all the darkness that surrounds us, I have learned that the light and the dark, while not equal, in some equation of spiritual math, balance. Life is both – difficult and beautiful.
The world asks of us only the strength we have and we give it – strength we rarely recognize we have, much less that we give it. I often don’t know how much I have, the depth of my resources, until after the fact.
Then it asks more, and we give it – this line unmoors me even as it anchors. How often have you thought: that’s it, I have no more to give. I’m done. Empty. And then, we receive one more request for our energy or patience or compassion, and dry as we believe ourselves to be, we find one more heartbeat that moves us forward, however imperceptibly.
What is weighing in the balance of your life right now? What more is being asked of you that you will unknowingly find the strength to give?