The sweep of positive relentless voices sometimes reaches my ears as a discordant vibe. Even the blasting hail of empowerment in my own soul leaves me shaking my head. I want to mutter “Oh, wow. What you proclaim is true and yet so is so much else.” There are plenty of days when I appreciate the uplift. But my soul cannot escape the daily awareness that loss happens, loss is. And to feel it deeply without any interference lends a profoundly intimate awareness of the layers of preciousness, of life’s myriad turns and twists. Sometimes what I want to read or hear is the sound of sober optimism or sober frustration woven with respect for life’s harder lessons, without cynicism’s buffering resistance to the inevitable tides of life. Such voices are rare.
What if it’s okay to end on a note of grief with no comfort, with no addendum of inspiration? Just as nature mercilessly takes one down and leaves another unscathed, a flood amassing and engulfing all but one or two, so can we speak our grief, our losses without putting on a happy face. As it turns out the happy face will return when healing has done her work or when acceptance has had full play.
And maybe the face will be lined with a few wrinkles of pain but they outline the brightness in ways rich with meaning and appreciation. We need both as we grow. How often do we resist a work of maturity when we simply cannot resist ending on a positive note? Do we abort a more aware recognition of the exactness of a loss, assigning positive outcomes in a miscarriage of understanding fully what happened because we’re afraid to feel life this deeply? How much do we diminish the integrity and potency of that which we value by spinning life’s meaner moments into a song of ultimate triumph? Can we ever define “triumph?”
I’m fully aware of my previous post as these words spill. It’s not that a master’s degree will be redemption for dark nights. It’s that it matters to me that I go after it, that I honor a personal need no matter the final outcome on that long trail. Dark nights don’t need redemptive bright-light days to prove their value. In fact, see what Kendra has to say about dark nights on Myspace. She nails it.
Sometimes the most receptive and fertile stance is one that openly and overtly welcomes the potential for loss in order to know the fullness of whatever it is we choose to embrace. Like Gin’s struggle with Artemis. She knows the risk. She doesn’t downplay the potential hurt or the struggle and she holds to hope in life’s richness. No matter the outcome, she’ll keep on. There is a rare maturity and grace in simply unfolding responsively and with awareness of all that could be and all we choose to accept. It is this seasoning of acceptance that grows wildness and prepares a feast of sustainable, home-grown resilience. It’s a resilience growing by natural and unhindered flow and is nurtured by the fertilizing total decomposition of something that once felt and smelled so amazingly great. Do we drag it out of the ground and say “Hey look! This will be okay one day!” and abort the full transformation into sustenance for newness that will turn out to be the decomposing sustenance of yet more newness? And. And. It never ends. But we can delay progress by disturbing the soil with our positive input. Or we can allow. Allow. Allow. (For Yi Jing fans, see Hexagram 42.1.3 as a great example of this.)
I ramble but not without reason. Sometimes the heart overflows and has no desire to be anything but moved by the grace of life’s vastness and even the brutality of seasons and outcomes stretching us all out in an opportunity to recognize how precious is the seemingly smallest of things. Like the violets blooming on a hill growing ragged green, worn wrinkled sprouts of color made real by rivulets of relentless sustaining rain eroding…
and birds who know without knowing just how short and fleeting is their eternal song.