Loss, as stated before, happens in all of our lives. A few years ago someone said that because I was encountering losses in my life I must not be spiritual enough or doing what God wanted. I have to admit that blow really hurt. It came at a very vulnerable place in my life when I had been going through a number of losses, and for weeks I struggled over that. Could these painful and significant losses be a sign that I was not who or where God intended? My faith was really rocked and I was on the verge of giving up.
A deeper look at the Bible though, and the experiences of loss among the saints of old restored my faith and enabled me to have a different perspective on loss. Most of the followers of Christ encountered loss. The Old Testament heroes encountered loss. Sometimes it was because of choices and actions they made. Other times these losses occurred because of the course of the world we live in. I realized that, even though the losses were hard and painful they were in fact a part of life. I could let them rob me of joy, or I could seek to learn and grow through them. I pray for the strength to choose the later.
Some Losses We Can’t Forget
The Loss of Death
As I have been looking and evaluating specific losses in my life I have experienced both a sense of nostalgia and at times a sting of pain. It’s interesting the losses that I can remember so vividly from early on. For example, death is a significant loss, and it has touched my life in a variety of ways. I very vividly remember one of those childhood encounters with death as I watched my puppy, Pokey, hit and killed by one of our neighbors. We had already had relatives die, and I know we had other pets that had gone to the great bone yard in the sky, but this death really impacted me. It effected me so much so that now, some thirty years plus later, I can still recall it clearly.
Death of loved ones brings loss. It’s a hard thing to endure, but I have come to discover that these feelings and this loss are proof of our ability to love and be loved. They are evidence of our connections with others, people and pets alike. When you feel this loss through the death of a loved one, grieve, mourn, hurt, and don’t be afraid of these feelings, for they are the proof of love and the proof of life.
The Loss of Innocence
I would not have considered myself naïve or unaware of situations in the world around me, but I remember, again like it was yesterday, the moment that the darkness of lust and sin and adultery really slapped me in the face. I was working with a small company of people that I had come to really like. We spent a lot of time together and for a while we were pretty successful. I was selling sweepers throughout Vermont and the surrounding states, and was doing fairly well with it. Then one night I came back to the office to find the husband of one of our friends entangled with the secretary. It crushed me. Within in moments I discovered the owner of the company was having a fling with the wife of one of the other salesmen. I left that night bewildered. For these people it all seemed so nonchalant, but at home there were spouses who were totally unaware and I knew would be left devastated by this.
I left the company that night and sought a new line of work. But the greatest loss was not the job or the friends, the greatest loss was the sense that something inside of me, a sort of idealism I guess, was gone. I knew that things like this happened, and not just on the soaps or in the movies, but it had never been as real to me as it was then. In the wake of this loss of innocence I found cynicism and skepticism and a feeling of distrust that threatened to consume me.
Forgetting is not Necessarily Healing
Forgetting is not healing. People have told me that until I don’t remember pain of the past I won’t be healed. I don’t believe that is accurate. I do believe that if I am “consumed” by the pain of the past it is a sign that I’m not healthy, but not simply the remembering of the pain. It’s part of who we are, and it’s among the things that help us grow and develop, even into the people God intends for us to be. So, remember with respect and reverence the losses of our life, and seek God in the midst of those losses. Perhaps we might even be able to bring some of the comfort of God we experience into the lives of those around us who need it.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
More to come.