Loss seems to be the watch word of the moment. I’ll not enumerate because once one is sensitised around an area of pain it seems that pain is everywhere and everybody you know is suffering similarly. Why would one list losses anyway. But we do. A bag full of slights. A case of betrayals. Bucket upon bucket of grief.
At a certain point numbness sets in which is a relief in a certain kind of way. But it can’t go on for long. Not too long. Perhaps the emotional numbness that comes with sudden loss for example, or even accumulated loss, is a mechanism to counter shock. So deeply shocked you don’t even know you are in shock! That was the case for me back in July when Iain died suddenly and unexpectedly.
But what I was actually thinking about was the popular sentiment that we humans grow strong in adversity. That overcoming difficulties, moving on and going from strength to strength is the stuff of life itself. It’s certainly the stuff of popular entertainment. Oh so very much so. And a very popular way of raising funds for charity now I think about it. All very character building.
But what kind of strength? What sort of character? Brittle I’d say. Easily broken, subject to damage. Not universally so of course. In Buddhism we talk about pairs of opposites and steering a middle path. What of strength paired with weakness? Well I’d like to think that the kind of strength which comes from facing life challenges, the challenge of loss for example, is a soft and pliable strength. One that can bend and move and be responsive. Neither strong in the popular way nor weak in a diminishing way. That would be the middle way. A fine sweetness.
This is for those known and unknown who are making hard choices. And a reminder that happiness passes, and finds you again when you least expect.