How To Gain From Loss
Surrounded by fires from seemingly all directions, the idea of loss is a reality that is
all too real. The picture above is of a close friend's home after fires swept through our Northern California community. My brother, just a few days ago, had to rush home and start packing up his family's belongings and most important his personal items because another fire was so close, he could feel it's bite in the air. But the loss from fires and other natural disasters are just one kind of loss that we humans have to suffer through. Life fortunately, is made of much more, and how we rebound from misfortune and eventually overcome it is critical to our well-being and the quality of the rest of our lives.
Before I go much further, I think it is only fair to say that I do have some experience with the subject matter. I'm not one of those people preaching from the top of a mountain with no real
dealings with what they speak. I find it ironic for example, when celebrities, living behind huge gated walls with armed bodyguards at their beck and call, demand strict gun-control measures for everyone else. Regardless of where you stand on gun-control, any side that appears hypocritical, doesn't help their case or sway people toward their point of view. In just the last few years I have dealt with the death of my first grandson as well as the passing of my beloved mother who basically raised me on her own.
Losses of this scale, usually leave people searching for answers for a way to make sense of such tragedies. When answers don't come easily, or at all, we blame others. It's what humans do. It's like we think of the world like a math problem to be solved. There must be an answer we tell ourselves. With no answer forthcoming, we blame doctors, we blame police, we blame pharmaceutical companies, we blame other family members. and of course we blame God. He's everyone's favorite whipping boy when things go terribly wrong. Sometimes, we even blame the people we are the closest to. When those urges come to castigate others, we usually start to point the finger at ourselves and what we could have done differently or better. We still convince ourselves to blame because there has to be an answer to the problem of loss. Usually, there is no known reason, and no satisfying answer to find. No, terrible loss often comes without reason or cause. Why the fire destroyed my friend's house and not the neighbors', why our preemie baby died while the one in the crib next to him lived, why the seemingly healthy thirty-two year old guy with two young sons went to sleep one night and didn't wake up the next morning, are all questions with no comforting answers. There's no answer for any of these losses and I had to live through all these situations and pleaded for answers. But the first important step in overcoming great pain and loss is to realize there doesn't need to be an answer. We all need to realize that life is made up of both great and wonderful moments, and then times that rip your heart out and test your mettle.
Life is a yin-yang proposition. The yin and yang concept of opposite or contrary forces actually working in a complementary way is pretty much standard stuff for our Western culture as well. I bet you've heard of heaven and hell, God and the devil, love and hate, life and death, up and down, peace and war, and on and on it goes. Life consists of these contrary forces that need each other to really work. Even living in peace would have little meaning if no one knew the terrible pain and suffering associated with fighting a war.
Rejoice in the good things of life. Treasure what you have and who you care about. Loss and terrible pain is going to come to us in this life. It does to us all. Some fortunate souls have a lot less than others, but no matter who you are and no matter what your status is, you can't avoid it. Be thankful for all the good things. Do not take them for granted. Company makes it easier to gain from loss.
The biggest yin-yang in life is gain and loss. You work hard and gain a new job title and better salary. Your company downsizes and you lose your job. Your girlfriend dumps you and breaks your heart and then you meet someone new, fall in love get married and gain a new family. Your home burns to the ground and you lose everything, then you get enough money and buy a new home, a better home. Live life to it's fullest. Enjoy every moment that comes your way. Gain the satisfaction of not missing out on anything. When loss comes for you and me, it will be less devastating, less debilitating. When we rejoice and are thankful for the people we have, and appreciate them, we gain a better perspective on how to deal with the loss that eventually comes. Finally, when the biggest loss comes, our own life bends to the rules of mortality. If those around us know that we lived to our fullest, and loved as much as we could, and others felt our love and saw our joy, their loss from our passing will be easier to deal with and they may even learn some life lessons from it. Without loss, no one can really appreciate the good things they have from this life.
True Love Lives On Even After Death
Here's an inspiring and uplifting story I picked up on the other day that I wanted to share with everything crazy going on in the world today.
Love doesn't have to last a lifetime the story begins with, but sometimes it does. What makes a lifetime relationship work, commitment, loyalty and effort and I will throw in patience and forgiveness. If you're one of the lucky ones whose heart feels like it can't beat without the person you love in your life, here are a few stories for you that will make anyone believe that when you love with your soul somehow your body knows it.
#1. A man was obsessed with his love for his wife. In their early years, he would sing to her and let her know every chance he got how much he loved her. He never left her side even after her soul left her body. She had a brain tumor. As she was leaving this world, her husband told her that, "You won't be alone. I'm coming with you."
Something inside him died when she passed. He waited and finished what he needed to in order to be next to his love. He applied to buy the land next to her plot to be buried in. He waited anxiously for the land deal to be approved, while visiting his beloved wife's grave each day. Finally, the land was his and only three days later, he collapsed and passed away. He fulfilled his promise to his wife, she wouldn't be alone, he was coming with her as he told her he would.
#2. A man grieving the demise of his wife, looking back at his life with her says, "The definition of love is elusive, which is why we write about it endlessly. Even Shakespeare couldn't touch it... Romeo and Juliet didn't know if they liked the same books or movies. It was just physical. After 62 years, it becomes something completely different entirely." Then, remembering how every aspect of their lives was linked, he expresses, "My wife used to say, we are one. Now that she is gone I realize how right she was."
Maybe then love is a routine that you don't mind following.
#3. A couple in their 90's were happily married for many many years. They were completely in love with each other in a way most of us can only wish for. The couple had to deal with the terrible news of the wife beginning to suffer from Alzheimer's disease. Shortly came the time when the disease became worse and the wife was hospitalized. The husband then broke his hip and became bed-ridden himself. He made sure to be placed In the same room next to her. if one of them didn't want to eat the other would refuse to eat. If one didn't want to drink water the other would refuse water. They were mimicking each other's behaviors, it's called 'twinning'. It's when two minds are perfectly in tune with each other. Eventually, they both passed away within minutes of each other. In their final minutes, they were together. They were one.
Have an inspired week and look for the good, in these times not always easy, but more than worth the trouble!
All My Best!
Andrew Scott Bassett