- “It is a story of two armies facing each other in a turf battle. One of the armies said to the other, ‘Why should all of us get killed in a battle for this ground? Let each of us pick one soldier to fight for our side. We will let them settle it for us.’ The other army was not as excited about this plan since the one proposing it had a giant warrior who towered over everyone else. One by one, their soldiers took a look at Goliath and said, ‘He’s so big. He’s so gigantic. There’s no way I can kill him.’ David, who was actually smaller than others in the army, looked at the same Goliath. He picked up a couple of stones and his sling and then said, ‘He’s so big. He’s so gigantic. There’s no way I can miss.’”
Deits’ account of David and Goliath relates to the sizable suffering that can accompany grief (or any other pain) and a mental approach that can help. First, consider the difference between pain and suffering. Pain presents the prospect of suffering. Many propose that pain is unavoidable, and that suffering often emerges when we deny it or attempt to circumvent it. Continuing with the notion of grief, when we lose loved ones, it is painful. To deny that pain by ignoring, hiding, rejecting, or numbing it, we often prolong and/or intensify the experience unnecessarily, which, in turn, becomes suffering. By accepting the pain, we allow ourselves the opportunity to recognize and move through it.
When facing Goliath, David acknowledges his size and rather than retreat, he shifts to another approach: “how can I miss?” The mental shift allows David to consider the possibility of success because a bigger problem presents more regions to attack. In a way, the approach conveys a level of acceptance as well. To ruminate on the magnitude of pain could leave one overwhelmed with sorrow, and then to deny such pain could leave one blindsided and unexpectedly suffering. By accepting the reality of a particular pain, we do not concede to it, but acknowledge the exact problem with which we must deal.
Considering Deits’ telling of this story, one might take into account other questions David may have asked himself. For instance, how can I approach Goliath so that I am not left cowering in fear? Or how can I defeat Goliath given our size difference? Such questions can be generalized to address other “gigantic” pains or problems: How can I approach this pain so that I can move forward? How can I address this problem to arrive at a solution? By asking questions that inform our approach to life, we allow ourselves to accept reality and commit to a path of our choosing.