Grief is a mixed and dangerous behavior. It is mixed because of its unpredictability. When you grieve well, you surrender to ignorance. You don’t know what you’ll do, which way you’ll turn, or how you’ll act.
There is no map for the terrain in that area. There are hints of light and markers of how others have travelled that world. But those are only markers, only signs that keep us from believing we’re alone in our peril.
It is true that grieving is isolating, but as we grieve, God keeps us looking long enough to see how many people surround us. And we adapt to our way of getting through it. We may even surprise ourselves. “I didn’t see that coming” or “I can’t believe I said that.”
Upon inspection of our selves—when we monitor our souls—we see our behavior in that moment as an instance of grief, a mixed-up flash of pain on display. Grief is mixed.
And it is dangerous. Grief changes you. To put it better, loss changes you. When you lose, you grieve, and it is the tearing that turns you into someone else.
I think I’m starting to wonder about how people have lost in life before I wonder whether I can trust them. I’m generally a cool individual. I don’t let people get rises out of me. I function mostly by keeping my energy on reserve. But I open to people who lose. I am primed toward people who express that loss.
Not in every case, but it’s incredibly helpful when I meet a person who is in touch with her losses, acquainted with his grief. Because that contact keeps a person honest. Being close to anguish keeps you humble.
It helps you maintain your proximity toward the ground. You stay at the ground of your being and you stay near the earth because, plainly, you’ve put someone or something you loved in that earth. And when you’ve placed a significant other in the ground, you look at that ground with new wonder.
That is change. You look at the world differently. You see something that wasn’t there (for you) before. And that’s dangerous. Being changed and being able to change is miraculously dangerous.