A very wise friend of mine recently said he viewed life as mostly a journey of loss and redemption. I don’t know if that hits a chord with you but it sure did with me. It’s making me reframe the past, if not the future. Call it optimistic or naive or both but I’ve always believed that wins were the main thoroughfare on which only occasionally the shock of loss would trespass. Looking back now whilst I’m grateful for successes and blessings I can see that what I perceive to be losses have also been a large part of the journey. Sitting where I am on the chronological time line I can say with certainty that if you’re anywhere past say 35, you’ve also experienced your share of gains and losses. Kudos and condolences.
So…what to do with the losses anyone of us cannot seem to get past? Love for instance. Some folks get to keep their loves, get to have that journey continue to unfold through all the chapters of their adult life. More, I’m coming to learn, are not granted that privilege. There is an individual I fell hook, line and sinker for long years ago. We had a big, bold, adventurous life together, the stuff of dreams and now he is gone. Details don’t matter much. Gone though he is, the footprint remains, the bandwidth still occupied. So brethren of loss, what to do?
First I suppose is to actually do the loosing, the letting go. Easier said than done because to do so is to loose the remnants of what had been. For me, that “us” besides raising my son, has been the best and brightest time of my life thus far. How else though, except by letting go, can we make room for the new?
I got to sit by a Montana stream the other day. Not one molecule of it looked back. It kept moving, was a constant if you will of letting go, of depositing debris, shifting the landscape. Clever stream. If the stream is any example, letting go is part of the natural order of progress.
Following the wisdom my pal offered, next up would be redemption. Webster’s dictionary offers helpful hints by way of defining redeem with actions like “restore, reform, retake, make good, to free from harm.” Taking “restore” and “reform” at face value could mean we need to gather the pieces of our shattered selves and put them back together on a new trajectory. “Make good, free from harm” could be to fill in the gaping hole with gratitude that we got to experience the good at all.
Loss and redemption. Working on it.