Loss is a part of life. The sooner you and I come to terms with that fact the better.
One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I don’t deal well with losing. Yet in the past two years I have been forced to accept certain losses. The loss of my dad to cancer, the loss of a job, the loss of a dream, the loss of good friends.
Yet here I am, still standing.
The wonder of it all is that loss, when properly embraced, can lead to beautiful changes in a person’s heart. Changes that make for a better, more complete person. Changes that heal, restore, and renew.
The process, however, is not always desirable. In the words of Maya Angelou,
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
So why am I blogging about change and loss this evening? I don’t know. Probably because I’m reflecting on the past three or four years of my life, wondering how much of it has really counted, what has been accomplished, what wasted, what gained.
I get this way sometimes. It’s a good kind of introspective, I think. At any rate, as I look back over the past four years I see a whole lot of loss and failure. Very little has gone the way I planned or hoped it would and nothing has turned out like expected.
When I graduated from Bible college in the spring of 2006 my heart was aflame with anticipation. I didn’t know what was going to happen in my little hometown upon my return but I knew it was going to be grand. God was going to do incredible things. But I had something going for me at school which I didn’t have here: daily fellowship. Not just any old fellowship either, but the living kind. Daily fellowship of the living kind makes a huge difference in a peson’s life, make no mistake about it.
Fortunately I was well enough preoccupied with the imminent prospect of marriage that I hardly even noticed the spiritual deadness of my surroundings (you have a way of not noticing things when you’ve fallen in love). But by the time the newness of being married wore off and a couple friends from school had come and gone, I realized how alone we really were. We visited churches but it was mostly the same old thing, very little hunger for reality.
Then there was my dad being diagnosed with cancer; certainly no one had planned for that.
Eventually some other friends of ours from school moved down from Wisconsin. One of these two I count as my best friend in all the world. For us at least, considering the excitement we shared over the possibility of others who might come and what all might occur as we began to meet as the church, it was like a dream come true.
But that was four years ago. If I could go back in time now and tell myself that in four years my dad would be passed away and I’d be doing landscaping for a living and that in regards to the church we would all be back at square one, having tried so hard, longed so deeply and yet accomplished so little, I’m not sure what I would’ve thought. Denied it, maybe. Hoped against it, definitely.
Yet here I am, still standing.
Anyway, loss is a huge part of life. The sooner you and I come to terms with that fact the better. We need not live morose, somber lives, always yearning for the good old days or living wishfully in the future, but we must be willing to embrace change and allow the seasons of life to run their course. After all, we believe that God is somehow working all things together for good and that our crazy lives are a part of that mysterious drama. At least I choose to.
And if you would care to join me on this path of choosing, I certainly would appreciate the company.