The Weakness and Strength of Grief
In the widowed chapter of my life, I have seen my weaknesses jump out, begging for the spotlight. The light shone, revealing all their imperfections. My fears I had always kept well hidden. The cowardice I always diverted attention from. The moral compromise I didn’t realize lurked under the surface. The frailty and fragility came and cracked the well polished surface. All my weaknesses came like an army storming a fortress. I saw myself for what I was. Weak.
Yet the whole time, the strength I didn’t know I possessed, grabbed the reins. It clinched my soul and forced one step in front of the other. It dragged me by the collar and told me to press on. And each step I made, that felt a mere inch on a road that stretched endlessly before me, brought me to a point where I could look back and see how far I’ve come. And I see myself for what I am. Strong.
Before I became widowed, I would have said my weaknesses were pride, shyness, hesitation to get out of my comfort zone, lack of sympathy, and criticism. And yet these are the very things that were reinforced to gain strength. I was humbled. In so many ways. I was pushed out of my comfort on every front imaginable. My sympathy grew out of the borders which originally held it.
Before I became widowed, I would have said my strengths were being steady, practical, moral, calm and a hard worker. These are the strengths I saw evaporate, leaving me grasping at the wind for what I normally depended on, as I faced the greatest trial of my life.
When people would say, “You are so strong”, all I saw was a complete usurping of my usual nature. All I saw was chaos. An utter undoing of everything steady inside me. And I would scoff inside my mind. Because I was one of those people that said “I could never survive if I lost my husband.” But strength comes out of the cracks and crevices of the human soul, helping pass through waters of what we thought impossible.
And slowly, God creates something beautiful. He morphs something better out of the strengths and weaknesses that were before. Trauma, grief, heartache…. It peels back all the layers of assumptions and compensations we have formed in life and forces us to look at the bare root of what we are. Exposed. And yet, we can be patched into a person better than before. That is what I choose to do. It’s what millions before me have done. It’s what millions surrounding me are doing now.
And so, grief has the unique power to reveal all our weaknesses, while simultaneously showing us our great strengths. And thus, the power to transform.