Making Sense of Loss

by Eric Baldino

      Who am I? Who are you? Who are we when we strip ourselves of our titles, our status, our wealth, family, friends and health? I suspect we think we know who we are until we loose everything, then we may realize we didn't know much at all. I think its fair to say each of us has experienced some form of loss in life, in our earlier years the loss... may be experienced by the death of a pet gold fish, in mid life we begin to experience losses in terms of being layed off from a job, or getting a divorce. In our later years we begin to loose loved ones, friends, and ultimately our very own health. As we age we experience more loss in terms of how often we are exposed to loss and to the degree to which we feel pain from the loss. Luckily as we age we also gain a mental maturity that better prepares us to whether the storms to come. I like to view this gradual increase of loss as an example of God's mercy in not giving us more than we can handle.

     Obviously each loss brings pain and suffering, so why then does loss bring pain? Maybe part of our identity is closely associated with the person or object lost, so when we loose something outside of ourselves we also loose a little bit of ourselves. Its in these times that we may ask ourselves "what did I do to deserve this?" as if the loss is a punishment coming from up above, then as we begin to accept the loss our thinking often evolves into a less punishing view that places trust in God's plan being best. In this phase of thought we often say "everything happens for a reason". We still don't know why we are exposed to loss, which results in pain and suffering, but at least we have faith that there may be a reason for it. Often this leaves us trying to make sense of loss. Trying to make sense of loss was the very question that I have increasingly been pondering in my own mind, "not that I intentionally wanted to think about it, nor am I experiencing any major losses in my own life" but their it is, a thought that wont leave me alone, maybe then its a subject I am supposed to be focusing on.

          I went to bed last night with that very question in my mind, I slept all night not waking once that I can remember. It wasn't until thismoring when I was in a one of those half awake half asleep phases that a particular sentence popped into my mind, it may have been the answer to the question I went to sleep with, I vividly remember the following sentence repeated: " The stars are always out, but its only in the darkest hours that they can be seen" For the first time since I began questioning, "why do we experience loss?" can I begin to make some sense of it. I think I heard somewhere that God said "know thyself". In order to know thyself we have to see ourselves in a manner that is pure and absent of the many things in life that we often mistakenly identify ourselves with. For example who we are is not our Job or the title that comes with it, you may see this clearly if you loose either. Sometimes we think our happiness comes from within ourselves, its only when you loose someone around you that you quickly discover that the happiness you were so proudly claiming as your own came from without rather than from within. I think these are all opportunities God gives us to see ourselves as we really are, and as we see ourselves for who we really are we may also learn what areas we still need to work on. If we only seen in the light of day it would be easy to think the universe only extends to clouds, luckily the dark of night shows us a different reality, that the universe is beyond our comprehension. Maybe only in the darkest times in life are we prepared to see ourselves for who we really are, and maybe who we really are is also beyond comprehension, maybe that is something we are unable to see in the light of day.

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