May 23, 2020
Kahlil Gibran was a fascinating mystery to me through my growing years. When I was working in Lebanon, my love of Gibran increased tenfold. I remember my opportunity to drive through the Cedars of Lebanon to visit the village of Bsharri; Kahlil Gibran’s birthplace and home to his museum… The Gibran Museum. The museum possesses original paintings and drawings, personal journals, his personal library, his furnishings and belongings from his apartment where he lived in New York City.
Visiting his Museum gave me the same awe and pause as reading his words. At this time shelter in place; I have so much gratitude for the opportunities I have had to visit places in the world that stay with me in my heart. Gibran’s birth village and museum is high on that list. I offer a photo I took when I visited Bsharri in November of 2010 that I entitled "Rainbow over Waterfall in Gibran's Bsharri". I also offer Gibran’s words about solitude this night….
“Life is an island in an ocean of solitude and seclusion.
Life is an island, rocks are its desires, trees its dreams, and flowers its loneliness, and it is in the middle of an ocean of solitude and seclusion.
Your life, my friend, is an island separated from all other islands and continents. Regardless of how many boats you send to other shores, you yourself are an island separated by its own pains, secluded painssecluded pains, secluded its happiness and far away in its compassion and hidden in its secrets and mysteries.
I saw you, my friend, sitting upon a mound of gold, happy in your wealth and great in your riches and believing that a handful of gold is the secret chain that links the thoughts of the people with your own thoughts and links their feeling with your own.
I saw you as a great conqueror leading a conquering army toward the fortress, then destroying and capturing it.
On second glance I found beyond the wall of your treasures a heart trembling in its solitude and seclusion like the trembling of a thirsty man within a cage of gold and jewels, but without water.
I saw you, my friend, sitting on a throne of glory surrounded by people extolling your charity, enumerating your gifts, gazing upon you as if they were in the presence of a prophet lifting their souls up into the planets and stars. I saw you looking at them, contentment and strength upon your face, as if you were to them as the soul is to the body.
On the second look I saw your secluded self standing beside your throne, suffering in its seclusion and quaking in its loneliness. I saw that self stretching its hands as if begging from unseen ghosts. I saw it looking above the shoulders of the people to a far horizon, empty of everything except its solitude and seclusion.
I saw you, my friend, passionately in love with a beautiful woman, filling her palms with your kisses as she looked at you with sympathy and affection in her eyes and sweetness of motherhood on her lips; I said, secretly, that love has erased his solitude and removed his seclusion and he is now within the eternal soul which draws toward itself, with love, those who were separated by solitude and seclusion.
On the second look I saw behind your soul another lonely soul, like a fog, trying in vain to become a drop of tears in the palm of that woman.
Your life, my friend, is a residence far away from any other residence and neighbors.
Your inner soul is a home far away from other homes named after you. If this residence is dark, you cannot light it with your neighbor's lamp; if it is empty you cannot fill it with the riches of your neighbor; were it in the middle of a desert, you could not move it to a garden planted by someone else.
Your inner soul, my friend, is surrounded with solitude and seclusion. Were it not for this solitude and this seclusion you would not be you and I would not be I. If it were not for that solitude and seclusion, I would, if I heard your voice, think myself to be speaking; yet, if I saw your face, i would imagine that I were looking into a mirror.”
― Kahlil Gibran, Mirrors of the Soul