Sunday, April 09, 2006

Hasan Hakeem- I'm Back

March 21, 2006
Joy and Sorrow: A eulogy for Gerald I. Penny

"The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran, about the nature of joy and sorrow. “Your joy is your sorry unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. ... The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. ...When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” The prophet concludes by saying joy and sorrow are inseparable.

It is only as we have experienced pain, grief and setback that we then better know the blessing of health and wellness, healing, and overcoming problems. Part of maturation involves experiencing enough of life that we have gone through tough times, death of a loved one, illness, injury, hospitalizations. We have either personally or vicariously suffered through dreadful events: divorce, deaths, and so you can feel joy and tears of empathy when there are happy endings to terrible stories.

Thus deep happiness creates the joy that then prompts tears of sorrow if and when the happiness is taken away. So even if we must shed tears in mourning for Gerald and grief, deep down we can know that we feel grieved because we have also experienced the kind of love and relationship that gave us joy.

Joy and sorrow: opposite sides of the same coin. Knowing that we can't have one without the other helps to heal the grief and sorrow.As for joy, it moves in and out of my life. A transient visitor that comes to grace my presence while sorrow awaits me around another corner.

"Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow",
and others say, Nay, sorrow is the greater."
"But I say unto you, they are inseparable."
"Together they come, and when one sits alone with you
at your board remember that the other is asleep
upon your bed."

From: The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran

According to the Holy Qur’an, our present life, with all its joys and sufferings, is merely transitory and illusionary. The passage of human life continues after crossing the valley of death. Our present life is but temporary and fleeting, and the life after life is permanent and perpetual.

Death may be the ultimate human suffering in this world, but it is certainly not the end of life. Death is just like a door through which we have to pass to enter into a new dimension of life. In Islam, the next life is a reality beyond any doubt. Both the dimensions of human life — the life in this world and life yet to come — are welded together, one merging into the other like a splendid waterfall turning into a mighty river. The only difference is this that the second phase of human life is reflective of how we conduct ourselves in the first phase of life. The joys as well as the sufferings shall continue in the life Hereafter.

A friend wrote to me: “It is always sad to face the passing away of the people we know - to lose someone so close is certainly not easy. Allah is the final authority in judging people; people with faith or without.

Holy is He, Who Watches Over Me.

I believe once they have left this world it is between Allah and the individual. He is the maker of us all - Muslim or not Muslim.

Holy is He, Who Watches Over Me.

We should all pray that Allah out of His Mercy forgives his sins, just like He forgives and overlooks our shortcomings, and grant paradise to Gerald Irving Penny.

Holy is He, Who Watches Over Me.

With His benevolence and Mercy he can show his forgiveness by changing the hearts of the people left behind and of the people close to the deceased.”

Holy is He, Who Watches Over Me.

May God be our guide and have Mercy on us all.

In the end, Gerald was simply a humble “candy polisher” at the famous Jelly Belly factory. Did you see and speak to those who worked with him…people from various countries..Belize, Mexico…hardworking honest people who stood here last night with tears in their eyes.

Holy is He, Who Watches Over Me.


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