A poem I wrote for Ezili Freda, the lwa of love, beauty, the feminine, etc.:
Surrounded by a thousand splendors, she weeps
(Heart stabbed with a jeweled dagger),
And all the riches we heap at her feet
Cannot hold back the storm. Not so much
For what we offer (or how we fall short)
But for what is not- all the lost gems,
Sparkling teardrops, moments and hours,
Caresses and words that never manifest;
Beauty or truth or love withered or unspoken,
The wonder that could be, if only, if only…
That is enough reason to fill each hot salt drop,
Yet her heart breaks, too, for us-
Our turned backs, closed eyes, shuttered hearts.
She sees, in vivid, almost painful glow,
The true wonder we mostly miss. Her tears fall
For herself, for the world- and for us.
Something else about this occurred to me, today. In the traditional Freda possession, if it goes on long enough, she begins to weep, to sob inconsolably, as if her heart is breaking. I've seen it, and it is truly affecting... It's that sort of crying that makes you want to do anything to make it better, to make her feel better. But you can't. Nothing can stop the tears, and she sobs until the possession ends.
The surface meaning of this is that nothing is ever good enough for her, that she wants a perfection we can't achieve. Beneath that, there's what I was trying to say in the poem- that she is weeping for all the love and beauty that never makes it, or that we miss because "the world is too much with us". But there is another important lesson here, I think:
Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
If we get bound up with making every last detail exactly right before we do something, we may never do anything. If we get hung up on everything being photorealistically the way we planned it, we will not be ready when the inevitable randomness of the world intrudes. If we try to control all our experience, we will distort it. And in the end, we will end up weeping in the midst of riches that we can't see through our tears.
The secret is to do. Get everything as lined up and prepared as you can, certainly; do the best that you are capable of doing, absolutely. Push outside your comfort zone- "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp -- or what's a heaven for?" But at some point you need to say "Enough"- to go ahead, and trust in your Will and your Bliss, and accept the raindrops and the falling petals as part of the whole. And always, always, remember why you are doing what you do.
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!