A breadwinner in a small town loses his job and with it, the means to support his family. He feels like a failure. He looks at the trusting faces of his wife and children and feels helpless. He doesn’t want to let them down.
Upon examination, the doctor tells her, “There’s a serious problem. Get your life in order…. You have no more than six months to live.” Shock and disbelief set in. The clock starts ticking…
Another pet dies in the world. No one can understand his sadness and pain. After all, it was just a pet. But to him, it was family.
She reads the obituary column daily. Another long time friend has moved on. Frequenting funerals is now part of her life’s routine. Her emotions are mixed. She knows all too well… her time is coming too.
He didn’t make the team. He is reminded by his imperfections that it was close, but he was not quite good enough.
The phone rings. A voice on the other end informs her that their child has been involved in an accident and has been taken to the hospital. Dread sets in as they contemplate what they will learn in the hours to come.
He didn’t even call to tell her it was over. He found someone else. She heard about it through one of his friends. She felt betrayed and devastated. Couldn’t he even call? She questions her worth.
A special ring is lost. It was the one her father gave her. She cried as she looked for it everywhere, but it was gone; a reminder that he was gone too.
She hangs her head and cries. It wasn’t her fault, but still what was taken from her was most precious. She thinks she will never be the same. This crime and violation has left its effect and mark on her.
Another divorce granted. His four-year-old heart breaks as he stares out the window, waiting for his father’s car to pull up. He doesn’t understand why his father doesn’t live there anymore.
She spends her time looking at the wall… or the backs of her eyelids. Both seem equally the same to her. The mental pain is such that she can’t face her world. She wonders where her old self went. No matter how hard she tries, she can’t seem to find herself.
As illustrated by the examples above, loss comes in many shapes and sizes. This list is by no means exhaustive.
No matter which category your loss is in, healthy grieving is all about fully experiencing your losses. Healthy healing is all about fully reconciling and transforming your losses into the gifts they will eventually become.
What does it mean to reconcile a loss?
It means to make peace with it. This often takes time. You may have to experience a fair amount of grief before you naturally arrive at this point.
Gifts? What kind of gifts could come from this?
At first, in the rawness of a new loss, it’s difficult to comprehend how anything “good” could come from such “bad.” But in taking the long view, you will see that it can, and often does – it might just take a while.
The Losses and Gains of Life
By virtue of belonging to this world, we perceive our reality through the lens of dichotomy. Therefore, we experience our lives as being made up of a combination of losses and gains. Hence, the old saying, “Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose…”
Each loss or gain is experienced to varying degrees. While we may prefer the gains to the losses, many times, we don’t have a choice.
The truth is….
Loss is a natural part of life. There is nothing anyone can do to change it. Change is inevitable and with it, comes “bad” and painful experiences.
But also true is this;
Gain is a natural part of life. There is nothing anyone can do to change it. Change is inevitable and with it, comes “good” and joyous experiences!
Taking the Journey
The journey of reconciliation and transformation requires a process of moving from “something lost” to “something gained.” This is not to rule out something gained by finding it again. For example, the girl could find her ring, the father might return home and the child in the accident may recover fully.
Whether on a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual level, losses are hidden opportunities and possibilities for growth. They have the power and ability to transform you into a greater being.
When grief strikes, there are three levels to which people allow themselves to be healed.
- Not at all. They remain stuck in their grief and pain – never able to move beyond their loss.
- They heal just enough to get back to normal.
- They victoriously transcend the person they were before the loss, allowing possibility to light their way.
In effect, this alchemy of transformation is the process of changing lead into gold by converting the “bad” into “good”, the “lost” into “found” and the “darkness” into “light”, for in the end, all loss serves the soul’s growth. And… nothing is ever really lost anyway.
As the Alchemist of your own transformation process, your job is to squeeze every last drop out of your loss…. to magically transform into your greatest gift.
The game of life is made up of gains and losses, and infinite possibilities….
Play for the greatest growth of your infinitely greatest self.