The Gift By Li-Young Lee: Reading and Meditation

August 7, 2020  • Todd Breyfogle

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The Gift, Li-Young Lee


Pain is never a gift. The hands that attend to us in pain are two measures of tenderness. They help us see pain differently, not as an assassin but as the occasion of a greater love. The hands of the child’s father here are hands of teaching and of healing. Teaching, by example and through discipline. Healing, in the gentleness passed on in the moment, and through time. It is as though the father’s hands are transmitted to the child, to heal and heal again. At root, however, the hands’ gentle dexterity expresses a deft and nimble heart. The father removes a splinter but plants in his son’s heart a silver tear that waters others, a tiny flame that warms the soul. A removal, yes, but an infinite addition also. What silver tear or tiny flame can we plant in others? What kiss can we give to those who have met us gently in our pain?

Todd Breyfogle, Denver, Colorado

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