Wednesday, May 20, 2009

“A description of Mr. Opie Read, the American humorist, reveals heart-sorrow where the reader has seen nothing but mirth. “Sometimes”, says the writer, “his work is marked by the deepest pathos. He had lost two of his children, to whom he was devotedly attached, and these melancholy events made very marked impressions on the man and his work. ‘When one of my babies died,’ said he, in talking of the matter to me, ‘I was working for a magazine, and I was required to do just so much work every day. I was compelled to do it – it was my only means of support. During that awful time I would frequently rock the cradle of my dying babe for hours at the time. With one hand I rocked that cradle of death, and with the other I was writing stuff to make people laugh. I sobbed and wept, and watched that angel and wrote that stuff, and I felt every minute as if my heart would burst. And yet some people think this funny business is all sunshine. Sometimes even now I see articles floating around that I wrote while under that shadow of death, and occasionally some editor will preface these very things with some such remark as, “The genial and sunny-souled Opie Read says so and so,”
Yes, about these same things that I penned when my babe was dying and my heart was bursting.’”

When I read this story (author unknown) Psalms 14:10 came to my mind – “The heart knows its own bitterness and a stranger does not share its joy”. One never knows what another is going through even though they may seem perfectly content. Each has his own burden to bear and we will never know the great weight some are under, because they carry it without apparent strain. Psalms 14: 13 goes along with this theme as well – “Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, and the end of joy may be grief”.
Painting by Lord Frederick Leighton


fcb4 said...

This post could be written over these last few years of my life.

HAINAngel2000 said...

this post is so true and very powerful.This post I catch myself with hot streaming tears, I understand that grief in many ways and share his heart. I can't wait until heaven when we get to hold our children again.

Mel said...

I agree. It could be written over the last few years of my life as well.

Thanks for this post, Fred. This paradoxical reality it too often ignored in our conversations and our messages. I often tell people that I am simultaneously joyous and grieving, and I know many others are in that state as well, whether they realize it or have thought about it or not.

It's so good to be home and able to visit your blog again...

Have a beautiful day!

Yours in Christ,

Femin Susan said...

this post is so true...... Absolutely fantastic post! Good job!
Great! Keep up the great posts…..

FCB said...

Hi Eric,
The thought occured to me, I know Pastoring, with all of its joys, is a very heavy load and there are so many that seek, like the night owl hunting for vermin, only the negative. You are always in my prayers.
Love Dad

Hi Mary,
When I posted this I didn't think about how you would relate to this. I'm sure it did touch a deep and sensitive chord.
Bless you and your family living on this side of Jordan.
Love Fred

Hi Mel,
It is good to have you home again. I hope you have written about your trip, I will check your blog next.
I suppose we can all relate to this post in one degree or another. And that's why it encourages me to be more patient with others, never knowing their hearts burdens.
May this spring be the budding or greater victory for all of us.
Many blessings to you,

Hi Susan,
Thank you for your kind comments as well. And thank you for your inspiring posts as well,
God bless,

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred:)

This is a heart breaking post.

In some way, it also reflects the life of many other people who have to do a job to earn a living. Many people leave their sick parents at home or in hospital and they have to go to the office to work.

The clowns in the circus make us laugh but they can have some seriously ill person at home.

Many sales people put on a bright smile in front of customers , although they have problems at home.

In this particular case, the sorrow is very glaring because Opie Read is actually forced to write humor with one hand and with the other he had to hold the cradle with his dying baby. This is a terrible situation for any man to bear.

Many thanks for sharing this post.

Have a nice day Fred:)

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
You summarized this post so well.
It is true that many people go to work each day and keep a broad smile while underneath they are heart broken. I can remember posts you have written where smiling men are working far from home, sleeping where ever they can find shelter to earn enough to take home.
Great comments Joseph,