Kahlil Gibran was born into a Maronite Catholic family in northern Mount Lebanon, a semi-autonomous part of the Ottoman Empire, in 1883, Gibran received no formal education, but was taught by a local priest. When he was 12, he emigrated with his siblings and mother to Boston, Massachussetts. There, Gibran’s art teacher noticed his abilities and found support for him in the Boston art scene. When he was 15, his mother sent Gibran back to Lebanon to complete his education.
He held his first exhibition in Boston when he was 21 and, apart from his art, he wrote poetry and novels in Arabic and then in English. The Prophet, written in English, was published when he was 40. He published more novels, but his health was failing and he died of cirrhosis of the liver and tuberculosis in 1931 in New York City, at the age of 48. According to his wishes, he was burred in Lebanon.
Kahlil Gibran on Love
THEN said Almitra, Speak to us of Love. And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you, follow him.
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And When his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And When he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your heights and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free your from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.
***All of the above is included in Kahlil Gibrans book, The Prophet.
I was introduced to the writings of Kahlil Gibran twice in my life. The first time was when I lost my beloved pet, Freddy. A good friend and co-worker send me an email message of sympathy with a very lovely quote from Kahlil. Due to the pain I felt for the loss of my pet, I don’t believe I was ready to receive the message and consciously connect with his writings at that time. The second time I was introduced to Kahlil’s writings was through another co-worker who read me excerpts from the book, The Prophet. This time, I was ready to really listen and hear his words. I was moved and went and purchased the book immediately. I couldn’t believe that someone could write such words and have them complete move me.
In The Prophet, Kahlil shares his thoughts, ideas and words on love, marriage, children, eating and drinking, living, work, joy and sorrow, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, houses, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death. I take much comfort each time I pick up The Prophet and read his words as it reminds me how important it is to live in each moment and to enjoy that very moment you are in.
Together, we can make the world a more positive one!