The Heroism of Humble Grief

Last week, I felt flashes of invincibility. Tonight, I feel stones of grief.

I want to go somewhere alone, so my humility can fend off this yapping humiliation in private. They’re not the same, you see. Humility is the real deal, and humiliation is its counterfeit. Humility encourages me to keep going; humiliation convinces me I must certainly give up. Humility is hope, humiliation is despair. Humility reminds me I have worth, humiliation informs me I am bankrupt.

God wants us to be humble. People sometimes want us to feel humiliated, especially when we speak the truth about something they’d rather have stayed buried.

The truth is, I woke this morning and grief spilled out of me a torrent. The raw pain and loss I’ve experienced within the realm of my birth family reunion is exquisite, and I will reiterate what I’ve said before. If you do not feel undeniably compelled to to do it, don’t.

One thing I’ve learned is that no matter how well we believe we can craft our own life story, we cannot control the characters in it. We can influence them and hope to project them in the best light, but as every good writer knows, ultimately, each character will do as they please. They may even smirk at the happy ending we prematurely crafted before they even came on the scene, and trounce their way through it. Because no matter how much love and skill we press upon the page, we have limited say about how those particular volumes will end.

And then we must allow the grief to visit us, which it will, often unannounced. And when it does, if at all possible, we must set down everything else and be with it.  Let it express itself in full measure, give it lots of tissues, and listen to it with love. Often, after a long monologue, it will put on its cloak ready to leave, and realize there is more it needs to share. Sit with it again and put an arm around it. And when its done, walk it to the door without judgement, and welcome it back whenever it needs to visit.

Of all the emotions I’ve experienced in life, the grief of loss is one I pay attention to the most. To me, it is a pure emotion that swells from an inner gulf that cannot be stayed by a few tossed pebbles in the form of platitudes. No amount of thinking will impede its arrival either. It is an emotion that by virtue of its purity, merits reverence, grace, and patience.

Two of life’s greatest challenges are forgiveness and letting go of the need to know why things happen as they do. When our storyline does not end as we mindfully planned, it is wise to remember that no matter how dramatic, it is but one scene on the stage of our lives. If in our moments in the green room between scenes, our heart still beats, we can know that the show must go on. The final curtain call is in the distance, and our fans are waiting in their seats to cheer us on.

It isn’t over ’til it’s over, it’s been said, and I believe it’s true. If we consistently invoke the courage to choose the power and peace of humility over the impotence and defeat of humiliation, we will one day, take the final bow of our lives as the beloved hero.

Thank-you for cheering today. I needed it so.

8 Comments

  1. Jeff Greenland on 10/11 at

    For me, it’s important to remember that while we don’t get to write the script, we do get to know the Playwright.

    Also a quote: “Everything will be alright in the end. So, if everything is not alright, it is not yet the end.”

    • Melanee Evans on 10/12 at

      How did you get so wise and witty so young Jeff? Your comments and FB posts always make me happy. Sending love to you and your dear family.

  2. Wendy Jones on 10/11 at

    I love hearing your wisdom–and, yes, cheering for it. I am sorry for the grief you are encountering, but know that it has made you understanding and compassionate towards others. Straighten those shoulders, re-apply that make-up, and, when you’re ready, go back out onstage and conquer!

    • Melanee Evans on 10/12 at

      Yes I will, Wendy! Thank-you! I hope I get to see you at the upcoming conference so I can give you a squish!

  3. Larissa on 10/11 at

    And doesn’t it seem shortly after those feelings of invincibility, inevitably comes a trial or test that could potentially make one question their previous invincible feelings? I often have to remind myself of this pattern so that I don’t get overwhelmingly discouraged, and so that I can stand back up and move forward again. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and learnings. Cheering for you today and sending you love.

    • Melanee Evans on 10/12 at

      Absolutely, Larissa! Last week, I posted about a successful and happy day on Facebook, and one of my good friends teased me and said that I was making other women feel bad. I told him that it is what it is, and I wanted to document the beauty of it for the ebb which would inevitably come.

      I almost think the more ebbs we live through, the more courage we have because we know our strength. We know how it works. I am so excited for you and your little baby! Congratulations!

  4. Rebecca on 10/11 at

    You have articulated feelings I have repeatedly experienced, yet due to the magnitude of their affect on me and my life, I had never formulated a conscious thought or understanding of their complexity and what they require from me. Although I know this is your experience…you have given an identity to mine. As if you had plucked grief from my heart and shown a light on it. The unrequited cloak in the corner waiting for me…..
    Bravo to you! I am humbled, gratefu, and awed at your willingness to be open and share. It heals others in the process. Much love to you.

    • Melanee Evans on 10/12 at

      I actually thought of you as I was writing this post, and isn’t it interesting how universal our emotions are. Some people experience more of them than others though, I do believe, and I think it’s important to document them while still honoring others in the process.

      You know I love you too my friend.

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