I remember being there—in the struggle. The craving to be better and the need not to be. The compulsion to “accept” what has happened while rebelling against the very thought—as if accepting it would mean being okay with it. The savagery of emotions beating down upon me and the demand to feel it all while at the same time screaming for relief.
It’s a complicated fight. It’s the Wrestling.
It’s ironic, really. There were moments when I felt the need to clutch my grief even while others were trying to make me feel better; not wanting to give it up, even while I was miserable. I needed to process. The need to be there, in the dark valley—the need to feel it even while feeling the need to make it all go away and let me breathe. The struggle of being true to my grief, honoring the intense pain and honoring what I lost. There’s a smile you give to friends, family and acquaintances who are trying to lift you out of the mire, when you know, right then, you need to sit in that mire.
It’s the Wrestling.
The struggle to be okay when you’re not. The struggle to understand when you don’t. The struggle to go on living when you don’t know how. The struggle to comprehend the far-reaching ripple effects of what has happened even though the enormity of it is too much to bear. The struggle to adjust to an amputation when you don’t want to have to adapt.
The fight as you try to hold onto your faith while the oppressive weight of grief pulls at its very fibers, making it feel threadbare with even the threads unraveling. The need to acknowledge your anger, hurt and disillusionment, while feeling guilty to do so. The drive to scream at the unfairness of it all, the pent-up lava overflowing from your soul for the heartache you want an answer for and find none.
So you attempt to hold on to that threadbare faith. You try to submit to the knowledge that God is love, God is good and God is sovereign and God has a reason, but there’s a rebellion inside that you can’t snuff out.
The cry out to God for rescue even while you retreat from Him. The longing for support from your loved ones even while you want to be alone. The need for getting a breath from the deep waters of grief all the while diving back down into it.
It’s a wrestling with depression, a wrestling with despondency, a wrestling with anger, a wrestling for hope, a wrestling for healing.
When there is a wrestling, two opponents struggle against each other, trying to find mastery over the other. Sometimes the two opponents fighting are two contrary needs within yourself, like a principle striving against an emotion. It can make you feel like a piece of meat between two wolves. The problem is the two wolves are You, and the meat is You. It’s all You.
But there’s a normalcy to The Wrestling. A necessity, even. What would we be if there wasn’t a grappling? There should be a contending with such momentous matters of life, such massive soul-crushing changes, such painful losses.
We need that time of wrestling. It’s a transition time. It’s a processing period. It’s being true to ourselves, our loss, our faith and our questions. It’s the raw honesty of the complicated mess that grief is. It’s actually a genuine step of healing.
We need The Wrestling. As we wade through the muck, as we redefine our life, as we reconcile The Was and The Now Is, as we rebalance what was thrown off kilter, as we rectify what has been derailed, we need The Wrestling. It’s a paradoxical piece of sanity amidst the insanity.
But might I add …
The Wrestling becomes tiring. Exhausting. It can morph into The Weight, and can suck you dry.
Don’t feel weak for going through The Wrestling.
But also, don’t feel guilty when you’re ready to cease, to lay down the burden, and surrender the struggle. You’ll know the Time (which most often comes in small increments). It’s when everything listed above brings more heaviness than the paradoxical comfort it once did.