The Heart of the Matter
June 02, 2019
The Beautiful Sadness of Longing


There is a beautiful kind of sadness -- one most people think they shouldn't feel -- that needs to be celebrated. Or, if not celebrated, then at least welcomed like the evening's last beggar at your door.

This sadness is divine, the experience most people assume to be an absence but, in reality, is the presence of the primal longing for the Beloved.

It would be easy to conclude that this feeling is a disconnection from joy, an unfortunate amnesia that would make an easy target for well-meaning givers of advice to quote from their favorite scripture. But I am not talking about this garden variety form of sadness. I am talking about another kind -- a holy melancholy that sculpts, deepens, and refines from within.

Like the dusk that follows day, it is not devoid of light, but only a another shade of light.

Yes, it is darker. But so what? Isn't it the darkness that allows the stars to shine?

When a human being is in the presence of their Beloved, it is easy to feel joy. Like leaving home in the middle of a storm, it is easy to get wet there.

But when the Beloved departs (ah, the paradox, the late night debates -- does the Beloved ever depart?), an uncomfortable feeling arises.


The moon is full, but you are empty -- thirsty for something to fill you again, but the only thing left to drink is a bucket of tears and you cannot find the handle.

Off in the distance you hear the sound of cello. Is it sad or beautiful?

Drawn by the music, you follow, feeling your way, singing silent songs of praise and wondering if what you hear is the sound of your own voice or your name being called.

You know, and have always known, that the Beloved has left the world behind as a gift. But you do not want the gift. You want the Giver.

The above piece with music and images
Photo #1: Jesse Ditkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at June 2, 2019 03:29 AM


I stumbled upon this post just this morning while spending a few minutes browsing the blog Mitch and it bowled me over, it is just how I have been feeling these last few days and I didn't recognise it for what it was " and have always known, that the Beloved has left the world behind as a gift. But you do not want the gift. You want the Giver." This woke me up to what I was feeling.
I just want to say thanks Mitch for writing the blog, sometimes we feel the things we do don't make a difference but for me today, thousands of miles away and weeks away from when you wrote it, it made a big impact and changed my perspective.

Posted by: jude Olisa [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 22, 2011 05:13 AM

Who is this writer/poet Ditkoff?
Sounds like Hafiz to me.
Stealing glimpes of the Divine,
"welcomed like the evening's last beggar at your door."
Unabashed, saying, we "want the Giver."
This "presence of the primal longing for the Beloved."
Primal longing? what is this? where is it?
Could it be in our hearts?
And "the Beloved," Oh, it's too much for me
while I reach for the bucket and can't find the handle!

Posted by: Jon Lloyd [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 9, 2012 12:49 PM

My mentor often says, "A life well-grieved is a life well-lived." This beautiful description of longing reflects for me the constant dance of connection and separation, living well and grieving life, that comprises a life of meaning and depth. Thank you. <3

Posted by: BlairGlaser [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 27, 2018 02:47 PM

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