Of love, marriage, children and giving.
Selections from 'The Prophet' by Kahlil Gibran >
The quotations below are from longer pieces on each topic.
When you love you should not say,
'God is in my heart,' but rather, 'I am in the heart of God.'
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and to give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ectasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.
Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each one of you be alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but are not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, nor even in your dreams.
you may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
You give but little when you give of our possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truely give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you might need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
And there are those that have little and give it all.
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
There are those that give with joy and that joy is their reward,
And there are those that give with pain and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virture;
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes out its fragrance into space.
Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.
All you have shall some day be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors
You often say, 'I will give, but only to the deserving.'
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and nights, is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?...
See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.
For in truth it is life that gives unto life - while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.