Can We Discover Life in Loss?
Renée Altson July 16th, 2012
In the past few months, I’ve had several significant losses. They are deeply rooted inside me; interwoven into my very existence, and I have found myself angry, frustrated, afraid, and broken-hearted.
Loss is an inevitability that we all must face; its a common denominator of humankind. While abuse is not necessarily something everyone struggles with, we all know and relate to the grief we experience as we lose things that are important to us through the course of our lives.
I’m not just talking about death here. I mean any kind of absence: that emptiness, and longing depth of ache which is lodged deep in our hearts and often looked over. Things like the ending of a way of life; the graduation of a child, the loss of a job, divorce, someone important moving elsewhere, a meaningful piece of jewelry or art misplaced, even a tree outside a living room window being pruned back to nothing.
We all know that life changes, and usually that’s enough. It keeps us going, and provides a simple well-known explanation we simply shrug off as “Well, that’s life.” We rarely stop to mourn even the most significant losses, and we keep living our lives with doubt and anger and sadness running unacknowledged.
I have been forced to deal with my recent losses. All of them have been significant parts of my mental health, my joy, my self-confidence. I have had to spend time with them; sift through them with gentle care. I grieve, remember the good in them, acknowledge that life will continue on without them, and attempt to creatively grasp a vibrant way to see them leave their place with me, so that I may open my soul to welcome in what is next.
I think sometimes we’re afraid to deal with loss or pain because it forces us to acknowledge God’s part in our grief. Ultimately, we worry about the strands that would spider off of a single moment’s doubt; the rage that would be unleashed to freedom.
What would happen if we dared to ask: “Why so much pain? Loss? Emptiness?”
… Are we brave enough (or capable enough) to even consider asking?
I am finding myself mourning for little things, but grateful for the little things, also. Acknowledging loss always leaves room for acknowledging found; we notice and honor the missing, and notice and honor the things that eventually come to fill in those painful places.
This is more than just positive thinking. It isn’t a method that simply says, “Always look on the bright side of life.” It says, “Life sucks sometimes, and it can hurt quite deeply, but don’t miss the treasures that somehow inevitably make up for it.”
We are humans, muli-layered creatures with complex systems, emotions, responses, and reactions to circumstances. Don’t deny whatever it is that you’ve shoved away from you.
Instead, hold it carefully, sift through it, acknowledge the emptiness, and then look out for the ways in which the fullness returns. Its surprising how little it takes to acknowledge a moment, hold it gently, and then watch it turn around.
Renée Altson is the author of Stumbling Toward Faith, a photographer, and a web developer. She lives with her husband, daughter, and 2 cats in Southern California. Click here to listen to Renée on Steve Brown Etc.
This entry was posted on Monday, July 16th, 2012 at 4:09 pm and is filed under Loss, Pain, Renee Altson, Stumbling Toward Faith, Suffering. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.