by Deborah F.
A personal interpretation of Mary Oliver's - The Uses of Sorrow
|While looking through a collection of poems a few weeks ago, one jumped out at me. It spoke to me on multiple levels concerning the season that my life is in.
The Uses of Sorrow
(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)
Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift
Many people have written about their own gleanings from this piece. Mostly involving loss of life and the residual darkness. My take-away is not as grave. Though I feel that it is just as profound. The box of darkness also represents grief in my case. However, mine is not as tangible as the absence of an individual. My darkness consists of the grief of dreams that will never come to fruition. Especially of the ones that I had put so much of myself into.
So many times in the past I dared to have hope in my endeavors, yet knowing inside that I should only give it half of my confidence. And so then I didn't hurt so much when it didn't pan out. And then, out of curiosity, comfort, and perhaps blind ambition, I decided to give one of them my full and unabashed self. It wasn't a conscious decision. It happened gradually. Nothing inside me said stop. Everything in me loved every moment of the fall. And so I just continued, forgetting about the ground below me. I think I must have just faced up completely at that point, looking only at the vast sky and all its possibilities.
Toward the end, I sensed the ground coming before I saw it. I braced myself for impact, determined not to let it destroy me. Have I gone overboard in this description? Absolutely! Anyway, so I grieved. Unlike my fall, everything about my grief was intentional. I wanted to go through the whole process but in a healthy, not self-destructive way. Though this darkness is incredibly painful, it is unequivocally a cause of personal growth. Though it began to subside, it is my companion. A reminder that what I want the most, to be understood on the deepest levels, will never come to be.