Joy and Woe are Woven Fine

I had to drive out to Dublin way too early on a recent Sunday morning, taking my older son to his EMT training. Deadheading home, I heard this William Blake quote on the radio:

Joy and woe are woven fine”

I turned off the sound so I could feel some joy, the joy of living with my boys-who-are-men, and then grief for the world we are all trying to live in. If joy and woe are woven fine, it’s OK to feel them both fully and at the same time. It’s OK to feel joy when the world is woeful and it is OK to feel the pain.

When I turned the radio back on, I heard:

It takes energy to keep your feelings down…We half-feel all our feelings and suppress them and we’re exhausted from that.”

It was an interview with David Kessler, who worked with Elizabeth Kübler-Ross on the famous five stages of grief.

If you allowed yourself to feel the sadness (or anger), it would move through you in a few minutes.”

Listening to some of Kessler’s references, I realized that this interview was done in early 2020 (May 23 to be exact). It struck me that he was talking to us now, to me driving home early on a Sunday in fall 2021, giving me instructions for this moment, for the moment when we finally have enough energy to feel our grief and our joy and try to make meaning.

When you listen, try turning off the sound after 11:35 so you feel what you feel and find meaning where you can. Let me know what you discover.

Joy and pain