I’ve been trying to write a poem. Like all other creative endeavors, it hasn’t been cooperating, but last night, I think I had a breakthrough. I think. But alas, work stress and sleep deprivation prevented me from really digging in and getting my hands dirty with it. I plan to remedy that tonight. Until then, I’m posting a Rumi poem that’s been on my mind lately. I’m not sure why. I think because it so adequately depicts the stages through which the human heart moves. First, there’s the “drunken haze” of first love, the high-as-a-kite sensation that simply isn’t meant to last. Then there’s the fall from that height, the agony, the wondering if that kind of connection can ever be found again.

People say everything happens for a reason (and by this, they usually mean bad things), that it is the trials and difficulties of life that make us who we are. I believe that’s true, but I also believe those hard times have another purpose–they make us more empathetic, and I don’t just mean on an “oh, I’ve been hurt, too, so let’s cry together” level. Though that is nice. No, I’m talking about what happens in the final stanzas of this poem, when another speaker enters into the story and says, “Guess what? All that crap you dealt with? I’ve been there. It made me bitter, but now it’s made me realize I have nothing left to lose. So I’m opening up to you, if you, too, are willing. I’m not asking you to pretend you don’t have scars. I’m asking you to show them to me, and I will show you mine, and it will mean more than two people coming together unscathed.”

The last stanza has been on repeat in my head for days. It’s me all over. It’s a beautiful image. It’s a component of the poem I’ve been working myself. Consider the years it took for me to realize that being covered in thorns could be a blessing, instead of a curse.

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by Rumi

In my hallucination
I saw my beloved’s flower garden
In my vertigo, in my dizziness
In my drunken haze
Whirling and dancing like a spinning wheel

I saw myself as the source of existence
I was there in the beginning
And I was the spirit of love
Now I am sober
There is only the hangover
And the memory of love
And only the sorrow

I yearn for happiness
I ask for help
I want mercy
And my love says:

Look at me and hear me
Because I am here
Just for that

I am your moon and your moonlight too
I am your flower garden and your water too
I have come all this way, eager for you
Without shoes or shawl

I want you to laugh
To kill all your worries
To love you
To nourish you

Oh sweet bitterness
I will soothe you and heal you
I will bring you roses
I, too, have been covered with thorns