This quote turned up on my Facebook page. A google search for Karen Lamb mostly turned up this quote, so I don’t know a lot about her, but as far as I can tell she wrote a self-published book called I Felt My Wings, about her spiritual awakening—a possibly wonderful book that does not interest me in the least. If you’ve read it, you can tell me about it.
But leaving Lamb’s path and considering only our own, this quote is a clear pointer towards the road to regret.
There are two ways to read this quote.
Lincoln might be telling us to “accentuate the positive.” That managing our emotions and deciding to be happy will make us feel happy. In which case, this quote is kind of ironic, given that poor Abe struggled with depression. Seems like there’s a little self-loathing mixed into the words.
When I was a little girl, I sometimes tried to imagine what it would feel like to lose somebody I loved.
I could imagine only the sketchiest approximation, though. I knew I would be very sad, but had no weight or measure of that sadness and couldn’t imagine its nuances. All I knew is that it was likely to be a grief so enormous, I might not survive it.
A lot of years have passed since then, and I’ve lost a brother, several close friends, and my parents. And in a way, I’ve been granted one of the secrets of the universe: the knowledge that as terrifying as grief is, we almost always survive it.
We fear grief as much as we feel it, which only makes our burden heavier. But grief cannot kill us (without our cooperation) so we don’t have to add to our pain with fear.
What we might fear when we feel grief:
Yeah, sure, I get it.
Change is risky. You could go from the frying pan to the fire. From bad to worse.
But still—the devil? If you know you’re dealing with Lucifer himself, isn’t it wise to at least toy with idea of getting the hell out of there?
“Better the devil you know” seems an argument for stasis. It suggests that since there are no guarantees, you might as well just suck it up and stay stuck with the devil.
Isn’t that setting the bar a little low?