Monday, October 16, 2006

Grief, Hope & their little girl, Tenacity

I got to try on a new hat this week. I got to be the Poster Child of the Opposition.

It's a role I'm not familiar with. I'm a soul steeped in compliance and broiled in reticence. "I'm sorry for being here," I say. "I'm sorry for taking up so much of your time to voice an opinion of mine ," I say. Once, I even went to see a counselor and apologized the entire time for talking so much about myself. (Which really indicated to both of us how much I needed to be there.)

This week, it occurred to me that I've rarely voiced an opinion that hasn't been preceded by an apology of some sort or another. Never. At least not that I can think of. And what I've learned is that is when you say something apologetically, people automatically find a reason to take offense. So, I quit. Suddenly and cold-turkey without the methadone of reflection. I said something cogent and true and honest without apology. And then, I cried. Later, I had a lot of "I hope you felt heard" comments from a few different people. And I wholeheartedly appreciated that, but I don't really know if I felt heard or not. It wasn't the point. (Since when is "being heard" any kind of comfort? I don't know that I want to "be heard" anymore. I just want to be taken seriously.)

The O. Henry ending to this story is that I ended up feeling alright about it. It didn't come without a fair measure of grief, though, and I learned that sometimes we grieve over the right decisions. And that's not a bad thing. Grief isn't a Harbinger of Doom. Grief isn't an enemy to avoid. Grief is a friend in a black coat. It's the tunnel we travel from the gloom of the locker room to the sunshine of the field. Stretch that metaphor a little. It rings true.

There's been something else to grieve about this week, but I'm coming to the end of my scheduled blog time, so I'll stop. Suffice it to say that this week, I've learned something about the relationship between grief and hope. Grief might be the watchman of the night, but hope comes in the morning. I'm surprised by my capacity to hope. It's directly proportional to the depth of my grief. And that, somehow, makes it hard to be afraid of anything.

And you would think now hope would be tired, but it's alright.
You would think now hope would be tired but it's alright
You would think tired, ragged and oil-brown
but it's alright...Karen Peris


Anonymous said...

I think those are wonderful analogies, Susan.

Just to let you know, I take you seriously [that is, I am taking your blog seriously since we don't have much occasion to converse].

You will be added to my links menu and my RSS reader. There.

susan said...

Thanks, Gene! :-) Actually, that really does make me feel better.


Rebekka said...

wow wow wow. I truly feel you. I wonder if I will ever get to the point where I don't feel sorry for everything I say or do and assume everything is my fault. I can't even tell you how much I identify with your apologies to the counselor. (I also think it's really cute and funny!)

Anonymous said...

Susan, I forgot to mention: the condition is that I give everyone's blog a new name on my links. It's just a personal quirk, so take no offense.

susan said...

Rebekka, I know you can identify with that and that's so ironic because what you say is really important to a lot of people I know.

Gene, I'm really interested to see what you'll call this whatever-it-is, so name away.