These days, thinking about what I’ve lost comes down to the following:
– my mind
– my working memory
– any kind of motivation related to school.
It is the end of the school year, folks, and while I’m not complaining that I only work 10 months out of the year, HOW IS THIS YEAR STILL GOING ON?! I am certainly ready for June 16, 3:30 p.m. You have to understand – and if you’re an educator or if you have kids, you understand – everyone starts going a little nutty after spring break. And here we are, 6 weeks later, still in school. But we’re all nutcases, so the days get crazier as time drags on.
But if I play that game where you say the first thing that comes into your head when you think ‘loss’, I think of my grandpa, whom I miss every single day, and I wonder if he’s proud of me. If I’m given another second to think about ‘loss’, I think about the job I just lost and how that impacts me going forward. Then I think about my students, and how they lose everything at this point in the year. Not the least of which is their ability to chill the heck out. 🙂 Everyone is on everyone’s nerves. I still love it, though. I may feel like I’m dragging my butt to the finish line, but I will miss the heck out of these kids. (Sorry, I know that was a rabbit trail. I warned you that I’m losing my mind!)
Loss is one of biggest reasons for heartache. Losing a loved one, sure. But the less-often thought about and reflected upon are the expectations for our lives we hold that don’t come to pass. The ideas we had for our life that haven’t come to fruition, and therefore we have to grieve the life we think we should have lived.
Like the woman who is 36 and still doesn’t have a child, even though she’s been patiently waiting (and actively trying) for years. She’s been faithful to her husband and her Heavenly Father, and yet here she sits, grieving the fact that she can’t have a natural child. She wonders if she’s ever going to have the family she so desires. But you know what happens after she grieves that loss of never birthing her own child, and she lets go? She can accept a different path. And all of a sudden, she has a family. Her son might be adopted, but he is her son. Her life might look nothing like the picture she painted when she was 15, but the radiance and joy in her eyes speaks of gratefulness, fulfillment, and a true enjoyment of what God has granted her life to be. She let her loss set her free to pursue that which God had planned. Her loss allowed her tears to wash out her pain, wash out her disappointment and perceived failure, and embrace the path chosen for her. And because of her willingness to do that, her son has a strong, stable forever family.
That’s just one example. I could give you a 3-scroll essay on what I thought my life would be like and the life losses I’ve had to grieve. (Don’t feel sorry for me, they were almost all my own doing. I watched too much TV growing up!) But I have experienced that freedom that comes after the grief. I’ve experienced that sense of “Oh my gosh, thank God that didn’t work out, because then I wouldn’t have this.”
Loss can set you free. I’m not saying be excited about things that don’t go your way. I’m just saying, reframing loss isn’t a terrible idea. Reframing the expectations your life never lived up to might be a good idea. It helps us focus on the silver lining. It helps us recognize and pursue opportunities we might not otherwise have had. And it helps us live more wholeheartedly and more joyfully, which, as you know, is my point to almost everything I write for you 🙂
This is in response to: Writing 101, Day Four: The Serial Killer
Today, write about a loss. The twist: make this the first post in a three-post series.