There is a poem by Rumi (The Unexpected Guest) that always makes me pause when I read it. It’s hard to think of challenges, sadness, loss, suffering etc. as guests when that word usually implies happiness, good times, family, friends, and loved ones. What if we were to instead think about everything we encounter in our lives as neither good nor bad? What if we choose to see everything as an opportunity to grow or to welcome in a new experience? It’s hard to see something as scary and unknown as coronavirus as a guest but it’s definitely arrived and is knocking on our doors. In some cases, it’s even let itself inside our homes so what to do? This virus, like many other uninvited guests, seems rude, annoying, and we’re all wondering when it’s going to leave but for now, we’re stuck with it. So, let’s turn it on its head and figure out what we can learn from it, how we can grow from it, and perhaps how we can even changes our lives and society for the better.
The Unexpected Guest
This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
What do you think?
Now you tell me, can you do this? Is it too much to ask? Have there been other situations where you’ve turned something that seemed negative into a positive?
coronavirus, covid19, Rumi