I am generally a very positive person and with that approach to life others may see me as perpetually happy and upbeat. Although that view of me may well be true it by no means excuses me from the human experience of sadness and grief. Grief touches us all, some more than others but living this human life entails the experience of a myriad of emotions and grief is certainly one of the hardest to bear. My life, although blessed has brought with it loss and of late new losses have urged me once again to ponder my own sadness and to question what gifts lie at the core of it. In a society that values action, many may have difficulty navigating grief, as there is no action that one can take to lessen grief. Apart from surrender and time grief will take its hold leaving the bereft no choice other than to let it move through in its own way. The question I ask is what is good about grief? What are the gifts to be received within the grieving process?
I am reminded of Charlie Brown, the creation of Charles Schulz, a man upon enquiry whom it seemed had his own battles with what was described as bouts of anxiety and melancholy. Charlie Brown certainly had his share of grief and always seemed a tad downtrodden but loveable in his hopeful optimism. What is so unique about the Peanuts comic strips is that underlying the humour there is a bittersweet understanding of life and insight into the human condition. This is one of the greatest gifts that can arise out of the grieving period. Grief makes us more human, it humbles us into a place of surrender, vulnerability and compassion for our fellow human beings. Grief whittles away the superfluous, reconnects us to the depths of our soul and the soul of others and out of these depths is born poetry, art , music and perhaps even comic strips that may touch a population. Although the pain in grief can seem relentless there is a powerful beauty within the intensity of that emotion. Grief peels away the layers of the mundane, the mediocre and the trivial and reveals beneath it what really matters. So yes happy and upbeat I may be and certainly we are encouraged it seems to be that way more often than not but to live life fully is to embrace all that it means to be human, fully and without apology. When we can grieve in this way with all of our heart and all of our soul then grief truly is a gift and then yes, good grief, grief can be good!