Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Journey of Loss

We sat around our dining room table sharing our stories.

Like you, I've walked this path before. Although the time line remains the same, the understanding deepens. This time I recognized a new theme, trust and un-trust.

As I talked through my story of trust or un-trust, Lisa and Joyce listened well. I paused.

Joyce, sitting to my left softly spoke, the journey of loss is hard, isn't it? Perhaps not as much a question as a statement.

The tears surfaced uninvited. Her words gently pressed on the hurt of loss--a hurt I didn't realize still hurt.

Buried underneath the trust, un-trust issue loomed something bigger, something more significant, something if not aware of can never be healed.

The issue of loss.

My friend, Bill Thrall, says, "Experience is not the best teacher, evaluating your experiences is the best teacher."

As my journey of evaluation began, I remembered ...

I was in first or second grade. Winters in NJ call for hats and scarves and Mom had prepared me well. I had a new green hat and scarf set monogrammed with my name. I loved it. But on my walk home from school that day, a big boy (maybe my first experience with bullying) came up behind me, snatched the hat, and threw it over the tall privacy fence. It was gone with no hope of reclaiming.

As a young child that was pretty traumatic. But more than the incident itself, the loss of my new hat with my name on it, pictures far more significant losses in my adult life all of which had my name on them. With the loss of my hat came the loss of a piece of my identity.

My evaluation continued by listing several losses of my life. They began to fall into categories ...
  •   Some were natural, normal, even expected. 
  •   Some even resulted from times of celebration. This thought surprised me.
  •   Some were hard, very hard; some not so.
As my list grew, patterns emerged as well.

Difficult losses went counter to my values. The perceived or real loss of a friendship is a heavy cross. Friendship is a high value for me.

But the pattern that seemed to be the golden thread through my story were the losses that threatened my identity. Not my child-of-God identity, but the identity you saw and the identity I was living because of the current "hat" I was wearing.

Certain triggers emerged too. My humanity is alive and well!

The evaluation, the patterns, the triggers pointed to an unhappy truth, I get so comfortable with my temporary hats, they become more important to me than my true identity. So when one is snatched or even slowly slides off, the trauma of loss is great.

So I'm learning:

Loss is real and loss is hard.
I am human. I feel the effects of loss.

As I was evaluating, Forever Reign came on in the background.

"Nothing compares to your embrace.
Light of the world forever reign.
Oh, I'm running to your love; the riches of your love will always be enough."

In the process of remembering, evaluating, and seeing my places of temptation, God reminded, I need to RUN to the reality of His love. I want my true experience ... even in the midst of loss ... to be that the riches of His love will be enough.

And so I run. And I ask, Just for today, what does it look like to trust your love for me?

"I am my beloved's, and his desire is for me."
Song of Solomon 7:10

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