It occurred to me the other day, that life is a series of losses. Nothing is permanent and the things that we most value or esteem, will slip through our grasp time and again. Our looks, people we love, activities we enjoy, finances (which we can win and lose throughout our lives), our sharp minds, why even my once always thin waist seems to be disappearing!
If we take an honest look at the people, places, things and situations we have experienced over time, it’s all about loss. My once beautiful beach community, now laden with homelessness, the crumbling US system, and even our freedom to come and go as we want without restrictions, these are all loses I have seen just over the past few years in my tiny part of the world.
So it is easy to travel in a negative way when we look in the mirror at our fading youthful skin, or degenerating joints and bodies. Time marches on and that which once was vibrant, loses its luster. Yet none of this loss is in vain, because through these people and experiences, we gain much. Therefore, even if things do not remain the same, we still walk away richer and deeper individuals because we have experienced these things in our lives.
No one begins their life comprehending, that what they have, WILL be eventually lost. Perhaps it would be easier if we realized this sooner on; to help us fully appreciate what we have when we have it, and to not be afraid to use it. I think of my 96 year old landlady who died a few years ago, leaving 3 million dollars to one relative, 3 million to another, and my entire complex to a relative she didn’t even know. Sometimes our fear of loss, even keeps us from fully enjoying that which we have.
However, through all of these little loses, we gain far more than we lose. Life is meant to be lived and experienced. Yet if anything is true, one door must shut before another can open; we must finish reading the current chapter before getting the most out of the next. We may not see the entire picture, and so these losses we experience often seem like the end. But there are always new people, places, situations and experiences on the horizon, so our loss, is really just gain in another direction. Therefore, life is about loss, but it is also about constantly receiving. When we lose our youthful bodies, we obtain confidence and security in the wisdom we possess from the lessons these bodies have brought us. As our memories begin to fade with age, we draw nearer to the afterlife and surrender into the next new journey that our soul is ready to embark upon. As Alexander Pope reflects in his Essay on Man, “hope springs eternal.”
I see my aging mother slowly fading after yet another fall. Her mind desperately attempting to grasp the words she cannot seem to form the meaning of anymore. Her resignation over the fact that she may never walk again, adding to her pain, and that of our family. Yet, there remains a glimmer of hope still, because she understands this is not a total loss, it is only a turning of the page. We begin to lose the moment we take our first breath, but we also begin to live, once we allow ourselves to lose. There is much that can be gained when we allow ourselves to let go, and surrender into becoming a beautiful loser.