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Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Prophet: Kahlil Gibran

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I love what Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran says about children in his book The Prophet. I try to remember this often.

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit,
not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that
is stable.


-- Kahlil Gibran


He also says:

You shall be free indeed
when your days are not
without a care nor your nights
without a want and a grief,
but rather when these things
girdle your life and
yet you rise above them
naked and unbound.

-- Kahlil Gibran

24 comments:

michael r. brown said...

...and so we must love and protect them
those sons and daughters
for they are truly the beginning
the next... the future... the tomorrow.
guide them so that they fly true and straight
but be not the life lived through them
their life is a vision that we can not conceive

Alicia Benjamin said...

Michael,
Thanks for your wise words.
Yes, I am ever thoughtful of what teachings and life experiences will allow my daughter to fly true and straight. I want passionately want this for her. I pray that she walks the way God intends for her to walk and that she is not sullied by the world.

Anonymous said...

God has promised her certain things, Alicia. She must know to have faith to be able to get them. She has to believe in herself and then she will know God, thus have all that he has promised her. She can't get God in church or in a book. She can get God by watching you and you knowing yourself. Show her how to know herself and know God, by knowing and loving you. Make any sense?

Being sullied by the world is all apart of loving and being compassionate toward your fellow man. It's all part of a huge lesson in our lives called "forgiving." Thank goodness for sulliness! There you will graduate to a deeper understand of yourself and learn to forgive. Get it? Pick up on this.

Alicia Benjamin said...

Anonymous,
I'm not sure where your philosophy of life is coming from, but I don't agree with it.
Yes, my daughter can definitely find God in church, in a book, in herself, in God's people, in people with God-like hearts.
I'm not thanking goodness for sulliness. I'm thanking God for love, honor, compassion, integrity, people with good hearts and minds.
I'm sorry, but I'm not picking up on it.
You seem to be very sure of yourself though. God speed.

Anonymous said...

It's okay. You don't have to get my philosophy. To know God is not to know church, or books, or other people. It is to know yourself and that he exists withing you. where would you be without a church? Would you be without God? Without books? Without people? Matter of fact, you may find yourself without anything but yourself. No church. No children. No friends. You'll be forced to see that God has been with you this whole time. You never needed to go anywhere to find him. There isn't anything wrong with going to a good church that helps you interpret the good word, but faith is something you have to believe in separately. No one can give it to you.
I, for one, hate to think that my children will be sullied by the world too. I feed them knowledge daily about the sullied areas of their world they may encounter, so they do not have the curiousity, or arrogance, to experience it. It doesn't mean they aren't sullied from our conversation. My 12 year old daughter is becoming very familiar with "violence against women" because she wants to have overnights in the neighborhood with her friends, but I won't allow it. A bright child won't stop at my words alone. She must be told the story of infidelity, social oppressions, emotional abuse, and physical abuse that exists behind closed doors. She's fine with no overnights now, but her ideals are damaged. Her fantasy of happy friends, with happy homes, kinds doesn't exist anymore. She still must have a loving heart and kind ways.
I'm pretty strong and secure with myself, but I couldn't be that way without have been sullied with bad relationships-intimate and friendships. It didn't stop me from forgiving being cheated on and hoping for a better one. I don't think I could have ever had a better relationship if I hadn't forgiven the bad one---first. The power of forgiveness is the ultimate gift to yourself, after it is said and done.......
My black son will be sullied by the world we live in. He will be a wonderful man if he has the intense ability to forgive, because he will be ridiculed, he will be denied opportunities, he will be mentally tortured throughout his life by almost everything that carries his black image. If he knows God, he will know who he is, and will be forgiving and achieve. Doesn't mean he walks bent over to allow people to walk on his back. I'll stop here. Peace sister! I want you to be strong and I want your daughter to know her mother as a loving woman who has a big forgiving heart.

Alicia Benjamin said...

Anonymous,
God bless you and may God send you peace.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

If finding God was easy, everybody would find Him. Seeking is the method and the true seeker will find Him. Let those who are wise in their own eyes cease and desist. God sent his Word in books that we may seek Him through them. And, He sent his Word through the prophets and the person of Jesus the Christ that we may come to know Him and His Glory. And, He sent his Word in the form of men and women who are gifted with wisdom to teach. But, the Cares of this world take them away. See how we add to the Cares of the World by adding strife in the life of another person. Let me see how I can lighten your load, and unburden your soul that you may find your way to the Lord; Let me see how I may comfort you that your tears be of joy and not of sadness. Let me see how I might make your day one of light and not of darkness. Let me see how I might teach you something that will have an impact of goodness rather than provoke you to wrath. Might I remind you that you do not speak always from yourself, but God speaks through you or Satan speaks through you. Beware the wiles of the Devil who comes to steal your joy. Imitate then, the life of Christ and get the devil under your foot. *Wouldn't hurt you to kick him in the tail, either.*
ANONYMOUS 2

Alicia Benjamin said...

Anonymous 2,
You better preach! Thanks for putting that so well and so passionately. I'm gonna have to print that and keep it.
I'm Grateful,
Alicia

Anonymous said...

Finding God is easy when you aren't afraid of yourself. Trouble is, most people are afraid of looking inward and finding out who they truly are. When you are ready to be still---you will find out who you. Alicia, there isn't much you can't understand, but there is much you don't want to understand.

Alicia Benjamin said...

Anonymous,
Ummmm. OK. May you have peace.
Alicia

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2,

Be careful, there are a many of men who call themselves prophets: Jim Jones, Jim Baker, Swaggart, and the like,so be careful. As for the rest of what you have written, that's nice to preach to someone who really does add strife to others, and who truly has burdened souls. I suppose there are many people out there who have burdened souls. But is seems as though you have copied the wrong comment to deliver to me. It's too bad that so many folks out there are afraid of the truth. Knowing yourself cannot be that scarey and strange. Encouraging your children to know who they are cannot be that odd. An African American child must know who they are at a very early age. Folks out there are waiting to define them. Reading the bible is a good thing, but if you have no clue who you are as a person----it is not much help. Alicia, from one sister to another---I've been in painful places before-----trying to help you out. Find yourself in the wilderness. Look inward and U will find God. By the way, finding God is easy, but people choose the hard path. Just Momma said.

Anonymous said...

It was nice writing on your blog. I really enjoyed reading the many things you have on it. I hope you have a peaceful life, Alicia, and raise a great daughter. I'll check back with you in the future. Me? My life continues to be exciting! My children delight me everyday with their brilliance and sweetness! Hopefully, we'll chat again. You try to find peace with yourself. I don't say that lightly or condescending.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2,

Sounds like you are a complete follower! Anonymous(first 1), sounds like you are an original woman. I like what you are saying. Are you into meditation? Sound so calm... I'll bet your kids are very centered.

ANONYMOUS3!

Alicia Benjamin said...

Anonymous,
I can tell that you're a good person and a good mother. I'm glad that you enjoy your children so much, they are truly a blessing. I love and adore my daughter. She's a gift and a treat. Take care.
Alicia

cathara said...

ooohhh...i love those lines too...i even included that in the very first entry in my blog.
my grandparents were too strict, and one time, i told her about those lines of kahlil, after a few days she said i was right and she realized how overly protective she was...and i finally got my freedom...khalil truly inspired me in many ways.

Alicia Benjamin said...

Cathara,
Kahlil Gibran is awesome. He was immensely wise and I continue to learn from him. Thanks for commenting!

Anonymous said...

Was going through this blog.. just too anxious.. Who is the archer?? and what could be the interpretation of the lines"let ur bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;for even as he loves the arrow that flies, so he loves the bow that is stable"

Alicia Benjamin said...

Anonymous,
I take it that your comment, "just too anxious," means that you are anxious. I'm sorry to hear that. I find that praying and the following herbs help to alleviate anxiety a great deal: wild yam root, scullcap, St. John's Wort, and catnip.

I believe the archer is God.

And here's my interpretation of these lines:

"Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;"
(Whatever way God bends us to see, nurture, guide and love our children, we should be thankful and glad for this, even when it's painful.)

"For even as He loves the arrow that flies,so He loves also the bow that is stable."
(God loves our children--the arrows--immensely, but he also loves those parents who provide, love, and nurture those children, by sacrificing and through all kinds of obstacles (bending).

PatricktheRogue said...

I haven't read Gibran in such a long time. I never knew how to respond to him; he seemed to inhabit a foreign reality that I was fascinated by, but couldn't connect to. That has changed as I get older.
This is no a reponse but a reaction. It does not follow logically, but poetically, inspirationally. That is my way of saying please don't blame him for this, or think that I am trying to presume I could answer him. But please allow me to leave this verse:

This is my poem.
This is my statement.
This is my cry against nothing.
I pour it into giggles with my glistening son.
I drive its nails into a house,
Where my golden daughter talks to dolls
That look just like her.

I hold its moments tenderly in a stolen embrace.
I steal its heaving memories that flash out in an instant.
I seal it with meaning,
Like the broken vows I whispered to the wind.

I sing now to the long-house ghosts.
My life will crumble into theirs.
No one remains to remember
Their struggle against the black-sailed dread.
And no one will live to remember mine, or my children’s.
We will live with Ozymandias
In the wind.

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

PTR,
Kahlil Gibran's wisdom is timeless. He seems to have been a genius....also very loving an patient.

I love your poem. I especially am moved by these lines:

"I pour it into giggles with my glistening son.
I drive its nails into a house,
Where my golden daughter talks to dolls
That look just like her."

Thanks so much for sharing!
Peace,
Alicia

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