— Guivre —
The aggressive dragon that prowls the countryside.
I wear my wrinkles like battle scars, having earned every last one slaying life’s dragons. They boast of my victories and some defeats while their beauty is a wealth of wisdom gained.
If you suffer lingering doubts; if the consolation you cling to is ‘it will probably be okay,’ then run the other way because what you’re contemplating is not a good choice.
I sat in a box
With walls on each side.
Not too tall.
Not too wide.
I sat in a box and cried.
Sadness is the heart withdrawing to seek shelter from the pain.
Young Raccoon, for reasons real and personal, had sunk into a sorrowful mood. It wasn’t just a sullen slump or a sighing sort of sadness. No. Poor Raccoon had endured one of life’s harder trials and was consequently overcome with a wretched, grim, tearful type of sorrow. It wasn’t long before a close friend wandered by and noticed Raccoon’s dark, quiet burrow echoing a sound of sobbing. Curious and concerned, Brown Beaver invited himself in.
“Oh my, such weeping! All is not well to be sure!” Beaver hurried over and placed a hand on the shoulder of his troubled friend. “Tell me please, whatever is the matter?”
But Racoon said nothing, unless the whimpers that accompany tears can be considered a response.
“Oh dear, something must be done,” determined Beaver. So he arranged a stack of wood in the hearth and lit a cozy fire.
“There now, here is a little light and comfort. Surely this will make you feel better.”
But Raccoon continued to cry, rubbing at black, swollen eyes as if the light were a harsh contributor to misery.
“Oh no,” sighed Beaver. “This is not good, not at all. I must go find help.” With a promise to quickly return, he left Raccoon beside the fire.
Only minutes passed before Beaver stuck his head inside the warm burrow. Below him poked in a tinier head belonging to Squirrel.
“Oh dear, oh dear, you're right! This is a miserable sight!”
Squirrel hurried into the room and proceeded to remove a handful of nuts stored in his cheeks. He then tossed them into a pan over the smoldering fire built by Beaver. Soon, the room was saturated with the rich, buttery smell of roasted nuts.
“Here you are, Raccoon,” said Squirrel, shaking the nuts onto a plate. “Some comfort food will certainly make you feel better. Try one.”
Raccoon didn't even glance at the offered plate but continued to cry and sniffle as if the fragrant smell were an enhancer of sadness. Squirrel looked at Beaver. Both were clueless as to what to do.
“We must go find someone who can help,” they decided.
As quick as a wink the pair left and returned with Black Cat who took a minute to size up the situation. She then confidently declared, “We must dry up these tears, for no one can eat and be happy when soaked in tears!”
With that thought, the three friends wiped at Raccoon’s wet fur, sopping handkerchiefs in the process. Black Cat even went so far as to purr a quiet, relaxing chord while licking at the glistening fur around Raccoon’s eyes, and yet the tears continued to spill, replacing those washed away.
“Well, this most certainly is not working,” Cat finally admitted, lamentably swooshing her tail. Beaver and Squirrel readily agreed. “We must go find someone who can help!”
They hardly stepped outside when the slender form of Corn Snake appeared in the road and slithered over to them. Snake was informed as to Raccoon's sorry state and came up with a fine idea.
“The poor dear simply needs some hugs and kisses. A bit of affection will dry up those unhappy tears.”
Agreeing it was worth a try, the four turned right around to enter the burrow and encircle Raccoon, administering snug hugs and tender kisses. Snake gave an especially tight hug, but it had no effect at all on Raccoon’s woeful weeping. Even a ticklish kiss from a forked tongue received no favorable response. The four friends were beginning to feel a bit glum themselves when Calandra Lark came flittering into the burrow.
“Tweet, tweet, tweet! Whatever is the matter?”
“Oh dear, Calandra, just look! Raccoon is extremely sad. Yet as hard as we have tried, our efforts have failed to stop the tears.”
“Is that all?” Calandra Lark chirped, perching on the fireplace mantle. “’Tis nothing a happy song can’t remedy.”
Puffing out her feathery chest to convey a mountain of confidence, the little bird began to chirp a bright and lively tune. Calandra twittered and tweeted and even trilled many a string of notes, but the cheerier the tune, the more Raccoon appeared to cry. At long last, Miss Lark ceased singing.
“Oh what is to be done?” she sighed. “There must be someone who can help!” No sooner had she said the words then a high-pitched squeal of laughter carried from outside. Swinging down from a tree into the warm, crowded burrow, Monkey addressed a group of surprised onlookers.
“Did I hear that someone is in need of my help?”
“Oh yes, indeed!” the five agreed simultaneously. “Look here! Raccoon is so sad, and yet nothing we have done has relieved the weeping!”
Monkey laughed aloud again, not meaning to be insensitive. “Eee, eee, eee! Do not worry, for I will cheer up our good friend in an instant!”
Monkey crossed the room on feet and hands to stand directly before the saddest of souls. He then delved into chipper chatter, telling jokes, answering his own riddles, and laughing at his own humorous stories. At last, he attempted only calm words of comfort because Raccoon continued to cry, making pitiable noises as if the jollity was anguish to bear. Needless to say, nothing worked to halt the tears.
“Oh me, oh my! Poor, poor, poor Raccoon!” the company cried, succumbing to a measure of grief and sorrow themselves. “Please, tell us—whatever is the matter with you?” But Raccoon shrank into a tighter ball, withdrawing while giving them no answer.
Overwhelmed with concern, the six good friends stepped outside Raccoon’s burrow to discuss the problem, hoping to hit upon a solution. They were running short of ideas. Debating whether or not to render the weeper unconscious, a strong voice of objection cut them off. Every head turned to see Red Fox step out of the underbrush.
“Oh, Fox, if not this, then what should we do? For Raccoon has been crying inconsolably for hours! We have tried light and warmth, tempting food, wiping away tears, hugs and affection, cheerful songs, and kind words of comfort. None of it has had any effect on Raccoon’s dreadful sadness!”
Red Fox walked up to the burrow entrance on quiet paws, but before ducking inside he turned and voiced an idea no one else had possessed the sense to think up. For it seemed to them rather senseless.
“Sadness is like a cloud in the sky; it exists out of grasp. Therefore, the only option is to let sadness be sad until it is not.”
Curious as to what Red Fox intended to do, the others followed him inside. There, he took a seat beside Raccoon and waited. He did nothing but sit. Nothing at all.
Confused—yet lacking a better idea—Beaver, Squirrel, Black Cat, Corn Snake, Calandra Lark, and Monkey all settled inside Raccoon’s burrow and likewise did nothing. The house remained quiet for hours upon hours as weeping, sniveling, and the occasional sigh carried over the sound of a crackling fire kept alive by Beaver.
Some nodded off for a brief spell, but no one left the room or made any attempt to keep sadness from being sad—as Fox had wisely declared.
Eventually and at long last, the gloomy cloud dissipated. All eyes turned to Raccoon, realizing that what had seemed like inconsolable grief had somehow transformed. Raccoon sat up and looked around, exchanging a small smile with each and every sympathetic face.
“Thank you, my friends.”
“Thank you for what?” someone asked, though others certainly wondered. For while Raccoon had wept a river of tears, they had done nothing but sit as still and noiseless as tree stumps.
Squeezing paws with Red Fox, Raccoon softly said, “Thank you for giving me time.”
That’s when they understood. More often than not, the only thing that can lift the heavy fog of sorrow is time.
Sadness is like sandpaper; it rubs at our sharper edges, softening and humbling us, making us ready for a coat of compassion.
To be a rainbow in someone’s cloud is commendable, but I prefer to be the rain because it dampens cheeks and washes away tears.
I think in the heart of every human being there burns an ember of hope that warmly entices us to believe everything will eventually come together into one perfect day, and that potentially the hours in this day will stretch on indefinitely. And so we live our lives in hopeful anticipation, dreaming and praying to reach this wondrous day, while in the process we miss out on the anxious affair that life truly is. Life is not perfection; it is everything else. We must taste and experience heartaches and trials in order to feel the genuine joy that comes from enduring them well. We then move on, wiser and more capable of charity—this being pure love and the reason for life’s trials altogether.
God cries for us in the same way we cry for others. His tears most often spill over for the pain and suffering caused from the mortal misuse of a gift called agency. He will not revoke the gift. It was promised to us for the duration of our time on Earth. But He will hold each one of us accountable in the end for how we applied this power of agency.
Every heart has a layer of sadness, whether deeply buried or covering the surface for all to see.
How frustrating to think you can be lost to yourself. And yet how often it is that a stranger stares back at you from the mirror. Maybe in truth we never see ourselves as clearly as the thousands of eyes that daily take us in.
Copyright 2017 Richelle E. Goodrich