Sorrow is how we learn to love.
—Rita Mae Brown, Riding Shotgun
If sorrow is how we learn to love,
then let us learn.
Already enough sorrow’s been sown
for whole continents to erupt
into astonishing tenderness.
Let us learn. Let compassion grow rampant,
like sunflowers along the highway.
Let each act of kindness replant itself
into acres and acres of widespread devotion.
Let us choose love as if our lives depend on it.
The sorrow is great. Let us learn to love greater—
riotous love, expansive love,
love so rooted, so common
we almost forget
the world could look any other way.
This amazing woman who writes a poem every day, has been writing deeply moving poems of grief for the past two months after the death of her son, and of the boundless love that she continues to give and receive. This poem was written in 2020, well before this excruciating loss and yet clearly, she has not lost this certainty, as was written by a wise soul in the twelfth century, that “There is no problem for which the instruction to love more is not the solution”.
If sorrow is how we learn to love / then let us learn. We could stop right there and reflect on the wisdom of that invitation, but there is more. Enough sorrow for whole continents to erupt / into astonishing tenderness – a tenderness we may not expect from sorrow. She invites us to let compassion grow rampant, and each act of kindness replant itself, like sunflowers, acres and acres of widespread devotion. Have you seen such acres of flowers – sunflowers, tulips, lavender?
She calls us to learn to love greater than the immensity of our sorrows – riotous, expansive, rooted love so common / we almost forget / the world could look any other way. Common, ordinary love – how would the world look then? She persuades us to choose love as if our lives depend on it. Clearly, this woman understands that her life depends on sharing more love. Would that we could all remember this in our times of sorrow.