“The great compassionate souls always take their overflow of sorrow and turn it into love.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
The whole world woke up stunned the morning after the Paris attacks.
In a haze…
I felt like I woke up from a nightmare on Saturday the 14th as I recalled the news that I had seen the night before. But then, when I turned the news on again, I knew it was not a nightmare or a figment of my subconscious imagination: Paris had been attacked.
Darkness set back in.
Fear set back in.
Hopelessness set back in.
I decided to check out Elizabeth Gilbert‘s Facebook page, because I knew she would have something comforting to say about the terrible situation and I was right. Her words poured over me like a healing balm as she said with simple wisdom, “I don’t know why this is happening.”
But then she added a depth to “not knowing” that is so powerful in times like these.
“….that’s what the great compassionate souls have always done. They say to a sorrowful world: “I don’t know why this is happening. But I will stay here with you. I will sit beside you. I see your pain, and although I don’t know how to solve it, I will be here with you. The great compassionate souls always take their overflow of sorrow and turn it into love.”
One such act of love came the day after, in the form of an unidentified man towing his grand piano with his bicycle in front of “Le Bataclan,” The Parisian Concert Hall where nearly 90 people were killed and many more injured. The “Piano Man” chose to let the sorrow he must have been feeling well up into love— and it blessed the entire world.
I imagined him waking up in morning with a pit in his stomach and a hole in his heart, a hole so deep you probably couldn’t see the bottom. He may have sat on the side of his bed, with his head in his hands, sobbing for his city…but then something must have changed. It must have.
Instead of staying in sorrow, he let his sorrow turn into an outpouring of love.
He went downstairs, got his bike, picked up his grand piano, hitched it to his bike and decided to spread love to the world. And that’s when he caught the world’s attention.
With a peace sign on his grand and courage in his heart, he serenaded the world with John Lennon’s Imagine.
May we all take a tender moment in this tragic time to think about how we can turn our sorrow into love.
Author: Wendy Haley
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: screenshot from video