One day not long ago, while I was off somewhere dealing with having cancer, my sweetie Tim left a message on my voice mail. It was simply him reading Rumi’s poem The Guest House into the phone. I was moved to tears when I heard his voice and the words of this beautiful poem. Now, a day doesn’t go by that I don’t listen to that voice mail.
The Guest House
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 whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Rumi, 13th century mystic
translation by Coleman Barks