Monday, April 14, 2008

My Lady in Pearls

For my Lady

Do you know what it means to love someone with all your heart and all your soul?

It is not an easy state of being, a transcendent state. It is one in which a person chooses to be vulnerable, decides to offer everything that he is to another. It is difficult, so difficult for a person who is guarded in secrets! And assume that someone does this; they reach the kind of state in which their souls are completely unguarded; they stand naked before the other, clothed only in scarlet flame; in the very essence of themselves and their truth. That is the only garment they wear, and it does not exist to cover them so much as to uncover, to tell the truth of who they are to another person, so that other person might bask in its glow and revel in its glory.

What one truly is is made of light. We shine, each in our separate ways, but at our deepest essence we are all composed of light, a dark light that gleams with tints of pink or hints of rose, a deep turquoise welling up from the surface of the deep. There are shining refracting rays that reflect off of the surface of a roiling sea, so that the colors and images intermix and interweave, but in truth we are all light, and our radiance is such that we glow with a keen and incomprehensible beauty, so vivid that we blind others in our dazzling beauty. But we so rarely allow others to see us as our true selves, in our true light. For that is private for us; that is the kind of joy that only we may entertain- that exists only for ourselves, only for our own undersatnding. It is the kind of self that one cannot demonstrate to others, for others haven't the eyes to see in order to comprehend it. It is a kind of darkness made of light, for there is a purpose behind the glow that we alone can see.

It is the music of our very souls. There is a kind of music that moves us, and it is deep and soothing in its rythym, terrifying in its scope. It is sad and strong and imperious; it is tragic and terrifying and hurtful. It is the music that depicts not only who we are but what our task may be; it is what we fear in ourselves. There are many times when we fear our capacity for greatness more than our capacity for finitude. Because we realize how difficult the journey shall be in light of what we are, and how hard the road we travel is. It is for this reason that we search and swim through channels of murky water, and we reach, and how our fingertips attempt to touch across that impenetrable gap! We reach ever closer, and there is a spark of connection, one that we hunger for and adore, and wish with all our hearts that we would never lose...

We come so close to one another; we are entirely bound up in one another, so that our very souls intertwine, and it follows that one's body could come only afterwards. There is so much sadness in the longing of another soul to be close to mine, or vice versa, for this is a connnection borne of loneliness, the initial and first loneliness declared upon Adam when he existed alone in the world. And so one searches but does not find, except there are times when we are led astray and certain that what we understand to be truth exists, and there is a kind of great joy that overwhelms and excites us, to think that perhaps we have a chance, and what we have seen to be gold is there, and it shines and glitters just as we do, for it is part of us as well.

And how we reach for that first connection! How it sparks and dazzles, and how close we come! We bare our entire hearts and souls; we tell the total and entire truth; we hide nothing from one another. For why should we? We are pure; we are utterly pure. We can do nothing without a kind of strong intensity that others only envy, for they are unaware of how deep we can plunge, of the waters in which we can swim, the heights that we can reach- they dizzy others, who would not begin to comprehend how to ascend to them. And yet for us they are natural; they are our very breath; they are everything that allows us happiness. What joy is in this, and what bliss, and at the same time, what terrifying fear. For there is nothing good that happens without a sense of fear and exultation; these two feelings are intertwined inseparably- all things come together in them.

And then to realize that one has been so mistaken, or to be cast aside like so much dust, to have this glorious edifice of golden dreams fall apart, to be treated like so cold a that hurts, and it is in this way that one writhes in agony, that pain rides up one's spine like a familiar stranger, playing upon the vertebrae as a skilled pianist upon the black and white keys. With one exquisite, torturous touch, memories swim back to the fore of one's mind and we dance through them, buoyed up as always by the treacherous understanding that we had so much, and all was so perfect, and to descend from this always to darkness, and to return only to realize that there is more pain, and more that causes one to suffer...and how cold, how cold it is now, when before there had been a sun to bask in, and a glow in which one could catch the is so cold, and it is no wonder that I am freezing! I curl my knees up to my chest and struggle not to shiver, for it is very cold in a world that has no sun, and mine has disappeared, you see...

How does one live out such a pain? For one had everything and now has nothing; one was warm and now one is utterly cold, hurt beyond measure. There is the soft strum of violin strings, and one closes one's eyes and allows the sleep to seep in, the darkness filling the cracks and blanketing me in a soft and comforting layer of nothingness. The stars are part of my twilight covering as well, and they comfort me to look at them; for they emit a kind of faint radiance, and in a way they remind me of myself, at the same time that I think I have lost myself. I know that I am still there, and I know that glow remains to me, but I must find it again, and it will take a time before I can manage that. There is always, you see, a darkness that seems too unfathomable, a hurt that seems incurable, a world that cannot be comprehended, and sparks that have been inverted so that there is nothing where once there was an entire dreamworld.

It is that nothingness that hurts more than anything. The mere stranger is entitled to more than I receive; the mere stranger may have a few flashes of light from his countenance, but I? I shall have darkness where I once received his total and ultimate regard; I shall have nothing when I never desired anything but to allow that connection to grow, as rewarding and beautiful as it was. How does one replace a beauty that now is lost? How does one grow to recover from such a thing? There was a world, created with fruits and delicacies of all times, a world cultivated out of my imagination and his own, and in the place of this world I now look down upon the charred remains of a fire; the earth is scorched and with it, it seems, my soul...for my very soul was burnt in the act of uprooting he whom I loved from the garden of my heart.

Alas, she sits in solitude! Maiden of Zion, Jewess forlorn! And what bitter tears she cries, and how her pain consumes her. And nevertheless, how strong and pure she is; how beautiful in countenance and in form, and how radiant in her sleep, when exhausted, she throws herself down so that she might try to rest and forget for a little...though this is impossible. What she misses is real; what does not exist anymore was indeed beautiful, and there was magic in it. And it is hard to give up on a magic as wondrous as that one was. But there is no need to give up on it. For it existed, and it is wondrous, and it is only logical that it should pain you...and that you should long for the sparks of connection that flew between you, for you were two souls united, and now you are sundered.

How does a soul create itself anew? Why, it takes and apportions light unto itself; it radiates light through its every action. She is a pure soul, and he is as well, but even in their purity they have managed to hurt each other, so that each of them are unhappy in their different ways. But this too shall pass, as everything does, and each of them shall form themselves in newer and greater selves, in forms that encompass everything that was beloved of this, everything that was important and that she desires to remember. For there was much of this that changed her for the better, and much of it that shall make her who she is, for the future...

And it is that very light, you see, and that very act of its cultivation, which is created only in the forge of a complete and total unhappiness. It is the reason she struggles now. In the struggle is the cure, you see. For if it did not matter, she would perfectly happy. But she is not happy, because she gives her soul to people when she loves them, and it is hard to have one's soul splintered to pieces, broken so that it might be pieced back together again, this time woven with a golden thread that glitters; a kind of spider's silk, a web made of gossamer and crystalline thread. These lines are so thin that one barely sees them, and yet they exist, for they are the very essence of what one learns. We are all broken, but then we are all pieced together again, and it is in that very piecing together that the work of art is created, that we become the masterpieces we were born to become.

My beloved Lady, this is precisely how it shall be with you, and how it is even now. You are mourning, you are unhappy...and how could you be happy? But at the same time, every tear you shed is another piece of mother-of-pearl that shines opalescently, the glue that pastes together the shattered pieces of one's soul, that helps to weave them. It is through our capacity to feel that we become human, through our capacity to both feel pain and to appreciate another's pain. And you do both, you see...and that's what is beautiful in you. For in your allowal to be hurt, you admit the magic that existed, and you mourn its loss, as is only right. We must always mourn when the magic disappears- with the understanding that there is a different kind of magic in sight, in the proper time, when we are ready for it, and when our souls are mended enough to carry on.


YU student said...

He is a hard man who is only just, and a sad one who is only wise.


Chana,when I see you (from time to time) @ the YU library,you are full of life,always studying,wanting to help others...
The sadness you are exploring in this story must be difficult to handle and yet you do it beautifully. What a blessing it must be to put one's feelings into words!

Aaron from YU said...

I actually read this story three times before I actually understood it(I think). I(like YU student) also have a quote and it goes like so: "No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God, . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire" .
Chana,may you be blessed by whatever it is you are searching for!

lurker said...

Ok,I finally made some time to read this post. Who is this"The lady in pearls"? Well,whoever she is,may she feel better soon and find happiness.

another YU student said...

The Instinct Of Hope

by John Clare

Is there another world for this frail dust
To warm with life and be itself again?
Something about me daily speaks there must,
And why should instinct nourish hopes in vain?
'Tis nature's prophesy that such will be,
And everything seems struggling to explain
The close sealed volume of its mystery.
Time wandering onward keeps its usual pace
As seeming anxious of eternity,
To meet that calm and find a resting place.
E'en the small violet feels a future power
And waits each year renewing blooms to bring,
And surely man is no inferior flower
To die unworthy of a second spring?

Chana and the Lady in pearls,
may you both be showered by spring of new/marvelous beginnings.

survivor said...

To Lady in pearls:

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Live the life you have imagined.

~Henry David Thoreau

Anonymous said...

v'rachok miPeninim...?

Anonymous said...


I wonder how easy it is for one to recover from this condition -- having been intertwined with another....yet the connection could not endure. Does one recover from this?

Elster said...

And here, stupid me, I thought this a homage to Eretz Yisrael. Man I need to work on my reading comp.