It seems as though death, not always necessarily of someone, but a loss of some kind often leads to some of the biggest, most profound times of growth in my life.
When we lost my cousin Eric, I had already left my church. Was searching. But him being taken so suddenly from this life jolted me more than just emotionally. My faith and my perspective on God, on the Bible, on life and death and mortality, were turned upside down. It’s not that I didn’t believe in God anymore, but as I had been getting older, gone back to school, remembered what it was like to question things instead of accepting everything I was spoon fed by others – losing someone who was such a profound part of my adolescence and formative years became the catalyst for some big transitions in my life.
As Christians, we are taught that we must die to ourselves to truly live. I don’t think that just means that we have to die to sin. I think it also means we have to die to our comfort zones. I think sometimes it means accepting the death of dreams we had for ourselves.
I’ve discovered that death or loss makes me bolder. It makes me less shallow. It makes me tougher. It changes me. Has changed me. Is changing me.
It’s taken a series of losses of both people and hopes and dreams for some wisdom to sink in for me. But it is sinking in.
And the basic, most valuable lesson I’ve learned from the losses in my life is this:
Life is short.
No, no, it really is. People say it all the time, but it is.
I don’t NOT tell people that I love them, assuming I’ll get another chance. I probably spoil my kid too much and spend too little time doing housework, but so what?
Life is short. I just realized in the last couple of months that I’d never get to be a mom again. Life never, ever, ever goes according to plan so don’t ever assume you’ll have chances that you may not get.
Life is short. Appreciate what you have. Much to my own shame, I have spent many years wishing that I had more money, higher education, more kids, a bigger house, more THINGS. And in the last year or so as a resounding NO was pushed in my face that many of these things will never be mine, acceptance has given way to gratitude. And now, when I lay down at night, I think of how perfectly imperfect my life is and how thankful I am for what I DO HAVE. Because it’s so much more than I deserve.
Life is short. Be honest. With others, yes. But with yourself. Don’t lie to yourself about the realities you face. Face them. Grit your teeth, look them in the face, surround yourself with people that will help you and face your hard truths.
Life is short. Never stop learning or appreciating new things. Don’t get so comfortable with who or where you are that you become immune to change. You might miss something really amazing.
Life is short. Forgive. And, if you have to, walk away from the people that hurt you, shake the dust off your feet, and never. Look. Back.
Life is short. Embrace it’s fleetingness. Be grateful. Know that it’s okay to have more questions than answers. Learn from the losses. Let them strengthen you in all their terrible pain.