I chose it because, to me, this is a picture of grieving. All the others I found were so … quiet. Calm. Thoughtful. A single teardrop falling from dark eyelashes. Two hands entwined in shared loss. A solitary person sitting on a mountain or beside a gravestone.
Sure, these all count. They are all responses to grief. But this picture — I think this picture is the real, raw, taking-back-my-freedom kind of grieving that we, in our feel-good culture have ignored for far too long. I believe our obsession with looking young and looking beautiful … our obsession with owning more and more and more … and our efforts to legislate ourselves into a safe little box – well, I believe they all stem from our inability to truly grieve loss.
We have lost the value of grieving. We are trying to live without it. Pretending we don’t need it. Or that the loss that triggers this grief can be controlled. The Bible talks about people wailing and tearing at their clothes in grief. That’s this picture.
I think perhaps our struggle with forgiveness is also connected to our incomprehension of grief. Sometimes hanging onto an injustice is actually all we know how to do — or it’s easier, maybe, than accepting the loss of something we thought we deserved.
I have allowed myself to grieve like this picture over the loss of my family, the loss of my dreams for how my children would grow up and what they would do, my helplessness to change the tragedies that have befallen us. And those times of grieving have been both painful and healing. All that energy would still be stored somewhere inside me if I didn’t let it out. All that energy would be stored inside me if I feared looking like this woman … letting happen on the outside what lied within.
No. Hiding and avoiding grief is not the answer. Letting it out is the answer.Because then it has no hold on us. Grief is a process and the outward act of grieving is the release of the energy of grief.