Wednesday, November 01, 2006

This Vale of Tears

I looked like that yesterday. Have you heard the saying that when a normal person has a flat tire they call Triple A and when an addict has a flat tire they call suicide prevention? That pretty much sums up the kind of day I had yesterday.

I had lunch with my s/o yesterday right after I got off the phone with a very frustrating situation. I was totally jacked up and lunch didn't go well. This issue that came up is one (health insurance. Does it ever make you wonder why we have the money to go bomb the crap out of some country but no money to provide even catastrophic health care to our citizens?) that has no resolution for the next year or so. I was really upset and told him it seemed like it was just one thing and then another, you know, "life on life's terms" and that I was overwhelmed.

As lunch drew to a close, my s/o reminded me that there was an answer. "Yes," I said, "death." He was not amused. I reminded him of the phrase "vale of tears," and that life, in every religion and philosophy I've studied, is a struggle. At least, my life always has been.

It seems like things go well for awhile, then life kicks me right in the butt. While I know it's no different from anyone else's experience, I seem to get tunnel vision at the times and veer into self-pity, thinking I'm the only one that keeps getting her feet kicked out from under her. Even though, in my head, I know that's not true, my head and my heart don't always experience gratitude simultaneously. Sometimes the gratitude stays in my head and not my heart. My job is to get the gratitude into my heart, where it belongs. When the joy in my head hits my heart, that's when I feel joyous.

He hadn't heard the phrase "vale of tears," so I thought I'd try to find its origin. Here's what I found on

"Blessed is the man whose help is from thee; in his heart he hath disposed to ascend by steps in the vale of tears, in the place which he hath set. Since happiness is nothing else than the enjoyment of the Supreme Good and the Supreme Good is above us, no one can enjoy happiness unless he rise above himself, not, indeed by a bodily ascent, but by an ascent of the heart. But we cannot rise above ourselves unless a superior power raise us."

Bonaventure, The Soul's Journey into God
Wordsworth, too, had thoughts about the vale of tears:
Down the broad Vale of Tears afar
The spectral camp is fled;
Faith shineth as a morning star,
Our ghastly fears are dead.
From The Beleaguered City
That certainly says it much more eloquently than I could. I'm off to a noon meeting then working a fifth with a sponsling. I feel much better today after taking last night to decompress by watching a dumb movie, Failure to Launch, with my ever-suffering s/o. The animal bites were pretty funny.
I knew when I woke up that today is going to be a good day. The dogs, of course, thought so too. They always do.


SCoUt said...

Hope springs eternal (especially in the eyes of a dog.)

Therapy Doc said...

Wow, wow, and wow.

Did you ever hear that G-d collects tears, has oceans, freaking rivers of them that He's been collecting and collecting and collecting, and that when we cry, He cries too? The tears are what we have to bank on when the time comes. In Hebrew they are our zechuyot (merits) along with everything good we've done in our lives.

So to me that means there's no hurry.

Uh, no, I'm not a spiritual counselor, but I fake it pretty good, don't I?

In the world of this doc: What will make you happy is connectedness, and you're doing just fine on that score, no? To me it doesn't need to be a higher power at all, can be human, canine, fish, Mother Nature.

And even that- connectedness- you can't always feel that, being a human and having brain disconnect problems (awareness is unconscious, usually).

A long, round about way to say thanks for your input about my A.A. post. There's always someone who gets aggressive and screams at me when I plug A.A. in public.

So far, so good.