Sadness is a wall between two gardens

I’m currently reading a book that my friend Leon recommended a few years ago. Knowing the kind of person that I am he thought that I could gain something from reading it.

Since I’m a person who likes quotes I’ve found the quotes at the beginning of each chapter to be entertaining. The title of Chapter 4 is titled “The Great Sadness.” The quote below the chapter header reads:

Sadness is a wall between two gardens.     Kahlil Gibran

After I read the quote I found myself concentrating more on the substance behind it than I did on reading. Eventually, I quit reading and focused on the meaning behind the quote.

Whenever we read quotes the quote will bring a different meaning to everyone who reads it. There’s no two people that can have the same exact feeling. That’s what makes our individuality so unique. We are allowed to give things our own meaning and let them tie into our lives as we see fit.

I smiled when I first read the quote because I found comfort in knowing that someone shared the same type of feeling that I’m currently in. The wall that stands between two gardens can be taken down if we make an effort to do so. However, the wall can also loom so large and indestructible that it will never come down if we don’t allow ourselves to imagine the things on the other side of it.

Gardens are typically places where things grow. Usually you’ll find the most common gardens to be filled with flowers or vegetables. Flowers usually bring a smile to our faces. If someone gives us flowers it means that they care about us. They are sending us a message that is uplifting and powerful. The beauty of flowers often comes from the internal beauty of another human being.

Many years ago when I walked through the Eisenhower Gardens I felt the energy that was there. It has always amazed me how a simple change in scenery can give off such powerful vibes. I was encompassed by beautiful flowers and plants. I was mesmerized while I was there. It’s one of those trips that only lasted about an hour, but has found a place to stay in the back of my memory.

I remember the strawberry garden that we used to plant every year in the yard when I was little. Sometimes I would sneak into the garden and steal a few strawberries for myself. They always tasted so good that I couldn’t resist picking them. I made sure that I only took a couple because I didn’t want my father to find out that I was responsible for taking them for myself.

I also find it amazing that I never did the same thing in the vegetable garden. I guess you could say that the cucumbers, pumpkins and tomatoes didn’t taste quite as good as the fruit.

Sadness is something that none of us can avoid. We encounter many situations on our journey through life that bring great sadness. Some things make it seem like the world is going to cave in around us, while other things are only momentary lapses of sadness. We all find different ways to deal with these things when they confront us. There’s no right or wrong way to do it as long as we find a way that works for us.

I’ve been  in between the two gardens for a while now. I’ve hemmed and hawed as to what I should be doing. What’s good for me and what isn’t? I never seem to commit to one thing in order to jump over the wall or simply push it over. Instead, I let it loom between the two gardens. While, I’m not letting sadness consume me, it does have a presence in my life.

Most of my sadness is self-induced which makes the problem easier to solve. When sadness that accompanies the death of a loved one or unexpected news we sometimes can’t control that type of sadness.  I’m pretty sure that many people can relate to what I’m saying when I talk of self-induced sadness. We let things start off small and build up speed as they roll down the hill. Instead of latching on and trying to stop the ball that’s rolling down the hill we let it unravel our well-being. Before we know it we’re caught up in turmoil and indecision. It seems like no matter what we decide to do it’s the wrong thing. We know it’s not, but we convince ourselves that it is.

Instead of letting things roll, we try to control things. We want to step in the middle of the events that are unfolding and make things go in the direction that we want them to go in. We become scared of the things that are happening and things that haven’t yet happened. We worry about little things and let other things consume us.

Then, the few of us who are lucky enough to see the light and get out of our own way find a way to push over the wall between the two gardens. At that point they find themselves in the middle of the most beautiful plot of land that they ever imagined. That huge wall has disappeared. Now, all that remains is a small wall that is half the size of a baby gate. It’s easy to step over it. It doesn’t block our vision or hinder our progress from one garden to the next. It’s just there to remind us that nobody can go through life without a small bit of sadness. We must do what we have to in order to make our gardens flourish.

The book I’m reading is very deep on a philosophical level. It questions the existence of God and makes us think about a lot of things in our own lives. I’m glad I listened to my buddy Leon when he told me to pick up a copy of the book. He’s a 70 year old man who claims that I inspire him. I’m not sure that I’ve ever been given a better compliment than that. It still amazes me every time that he tells me. Well, he inspires me, too.

Sadness is like happiness. We have to embrace it when it’s there. If we don’t, we won’t learn how to turn things around and learn from them. Just as rainbows always follow rain, sadness is always replaced by happiness. We are responsible for growing and learning from the things that bring us down. If we don’t do this, we will get stuck behind that wall. The vegetables, flowers and fruit will eventually become brown and we’ll be left with nothing. If you find yourself battling through bouts of sadness keep pushing forward until you find a way around the wall. You’ll surely get there if you don’t give up. It’s always nice to have good friends to help us through these times. If you have to, jump on one of their backs and let them carry you until you’re able to walk on your own again. There’s no shame in that. Friends help each other no matter what they have to do. Sometimes being sad for a friend helps us battle our own sadness. If we find happiness, it might just help them, too.

4 Responses to “Sadness is a wall between two gardens”

  1. Drex Mason says:

    I was reading the same book last night and was knocked out by the same quote. For me the meaning was truly personal. The two gardens I perceived were the garden of knowledge and the garden of faith. The wall between them is permanent but their are various doors between the two gardens. Both gardens are mutually exclusive

    Sorry,I accidentally broke the transmission! Well to say again the two gardens are both gardens of truth and beauty.The garden of knowledge is the austere beauty of reason,science,mathematics and logic. The garden of faith is a garden of feeling,passion,love and inclusiveness. The wall of sadness indicates that most people are stuck in one of the two gardens and are left empty for lack of experiencing the other garden. Though the gardens are mutually exclusinve, within their own context they are both true,even when they seem to contradict each other. This seems to be the great lesson and challenge for times. It boils down the necessity of people learning to open their minds and hearts to both gardens.It is not easy to hold seemingly contradictory world views,and in some circles,people would be considered schizophrenic or at least unstable if they tried. Here one must understand that context is everything. Given the right contextual framework,it is possible to know the truths of science and still believe the wisdom of any number of holy scriptures and traditions. I know I’m going to start making the attempt.

  2. JW Horn says:

    Here is a link to a YouTube that features a project I am just completing. Several years ago I was searching for quotes about gardens and came upon this one by K. Gibran. Like you, I went through several possible interpretations. A poem, and eventually a choir piece have evolved during the intervening time. The walls of sadness are part of life. Conquering the wall is the tough part. The wall conceals the splendor of the garden on the other side. “So let us conquer fear and peer beyond its gate…Let our spirits leap, undaunted by that wall. And as we land upon a bed of blossoms, we’ll find there is no wall at all.” Copyright 2013. Here is the link to the YouTube that contains the work. I hope that you might enjoy it.

  3. JW Horn says:

    Here is a YouTube link to a choral piece that I recently completed. The lyrics are based on the quote, Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.” referred to in your blog. Sadness is inevitable. How I choose to deal with sadness is up to me.

    “So let us scale that wall of grief and sadness. Let us conquer fear and peer beyond its gate. . . Let our spirits leap, undaunted by that wall. And as we land upon a bed of blossoms, we’ll find there is no wall at all.” Copyright 2013

    Enjoy the music, the lyrics and the photos of my garden wall that inspired me for 15 years. Thank you for your thoughts.

  4. JW Horn says:

    Here is the link to Sadness is a Wall Between Two Gardens, that I forgot in the last comment.

Leave a Reply