Grit – firmness of mind or spirit : unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger. -Merriam-Webster Dictionary
In thinking about what to write today, I tried just sitting and seeing where my mind would settle. I ended up with song lyrics that were hardly meaningful enough to discuss, but throughout the day the idea of Grit has come back to me.
Today, a friend shared a TED talk with me about grit, specifically in setting goals. I am terrible at that. I easily and quickly fall in to the trap of “I failed so I shouldn’t try any longer.” But as I thought about it more, I have realized that I am not grit-less. My grit just hasn’t shown up like others has.
I have lost two members of my immediate family. My mother, slowly, when I was 13, and my brother, suddenly, when I was 24. My life has twice changed dramatically and tragically and I am still here to write about it. I have gritted my way through grief to keep going to school and work. I have gritted my way through being a victim to offer forgiveness. It is hard for me to objectively look at my life and say this (and if it weren’t for others who have known all of the ins and outs of my life I probably still wouldn’t), but by the grace of God I have survived a lot. But just because I didn’t collapse doesn’t mean it was easy and pretty. It also doesn’t mean it was healthy.
From roughly grades 7-9, I probably spent more nights laying in bed wishing I was dead than alive. Being around friends raised my spirits, but at night, alone, all of the hollowness of life crashed in on me. I would often cry myself to sleep. I would often imagine running away or faking my death. I would often imagine writing letters of rebuke as a way to get my revenge on people that I perceived had wronged me. I even remember on many occasions thinking that I wanted to end my life but did not have the courage to.
From the depths of my heart, I believe that if God has not intervened, I would not be alive today.
While those years were the worst of it, those feelings have returned every so often over the last 12 years. I have yet to succumb to them. I have grown in the way I handle them. I have learned that I cannot survive my own feelings alone. And as much as I forget that, and try to withdraw from the people I love, I have grown in trust. I have grown in trusting that God has bestowed me with the grace and the grit to make it to the next day (and I have grown in surrounding me with people who will tell me this when I need to hear it).
Even as I write this, I am reminding myself that this is true.
I may not be good at setting or achieving goals. But I have yet to be crushed by the weight of grief, depression, and anxiety. I’m going to call that grit and own it so I can confidently continue to stand under that weight… by the grace of God.