Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Missing a Friend

Conor Redig, 1980-2010

We recently lost a friend.  Conor Redig was an extraordinarily compassionate, kind, sometimes silly, and always gentle soul.  He was a talented musician and a man who lived with intention.  Conor was an extremely genuine human being, who was eager to discuss the meaning of life and the best way to navigate our world.   Since I learned that Conor had passed away, I have been replaying many memories in my mind.  Though I didn't quite capture his essence in this portrait, it felt good to make this painting.

I remember standing in my friend Nina's kitchen this summer and talking to Conor and our friend Beth.  We were talking about love, vulnerability, and poetry.  I mentioned that I really like the Kahlil Gibran poem about Joy and Sorrow.  Conor said that he knew the poem and that he was particularly fond of the second stanza.  The words seem even more true than before.

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
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. 

Some of you say, "Joy is greater thar 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. 

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
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1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Jane. This is a beautiful tribute to a truly unique human being. He will be missed, but the joy he brought to us will never be forgotten.