I have learned much over the past few weeks. If Someone had asked me, (which they did not, by the way) I would have told them that I would prefer to learn those lessons later… or maybe not at all. That’s okay. I know I can trust that they come at the right time, even though nothing feels right about it.
I have been tempted to compare loss. I’ve had thoughts like, mine is worse than so-and-so’s because it was sudden… I’m so young to lose both parents… I had no opportunity to properly say goodbye to either of them. Or, the opposite – I recently finished a book about a man who was tortured in China for his faith and I think, my loss is not as great as his. It is easy to feel anger at those who have suffered “less” and embarrassed when I think of those who have suffered “more”.
But what God impressed upon me almost the second I started having those thoughts is that, in a way, all loss is equal.
I think that seems weird to say, but I have become convinced that it’s true. There is no “easy” loss, mostly because we are not given more strength than we need.
I hurt my knee in 2006 and couldn’t run for a few years, until this past fall. You know what was weird about that? I grieved that loss. It actually made me angry at God which is, admittedly, ridiculous. My pastor was doing a sermon series on suffering and one of his points was that we can’t choose our suffering. He meant that we can’t choose what difficult life experiences are thrown our way. But I realized that, also, we can’t choose which life experiences we find difficult. I couldn’t “faith” my way out of really being (way too) upset that my knee prevented me from running. I knew it was a silly thing to be upset about, but I was upset nevertheless. I was grieving.
The way circumstances hit us is impossible to control. We can’t really control our maturity, our support systems, our emotional state at the time, or any of the other factors that affect our ability to handle life’s curve-balls. I think that’s why we can be steel rods when one friend dies, and then fall apart when another friend only moves away.
Loss brings us face-to-face with the fact that we are not in control, not in charge and (for the believer) not yet home. All loss forces us to confront the weakness and strength that exists within us and ultimately takes us down similar paths and processes of grief, no matter how great the loss is, or isn’t.
They are all equal, also, in that they all must be acknowledged and grieved, if we are going to move into the maturity that God has for us. Ignoring a seemingly small loss because we feel we shouldn’t be upset over it, will not heal the wound that still exists. We don’t get to choose what hurts us. Once the wound is there, though, we can choose to see it and grieve what is lost.
Maybe it is because my heart is already primed, so to speak, but I am currently seeing many losses. Obviously, many deal with my mother. But surprisingly, many don’t. I feel like I have a bucket of stones that must be taken and put away one at a time. Each time I find a place for one, I come back and there are two more in the bucket. Currently, my bucket is very full and very heavy.