When I was a little girl, growing up as a P.K. (Pastor's Kid) I often heard people speak of loss. I spent my formative years at The Ranch - a beautiful place where people from all over the world came to be prepared for ministry, to get equipped for missionary work, be encouraged in worship leading gifts... but really, I don't think there was one student who came and went without bringing with them a bit of grief and loss, and leaving with their hearts healed a little more than when they came. I saw their brokenness, yet sometimes I didn't understand the ones who had lost that which is less tangible. As a 12 year old kid, I "got" why the girl whose parents both died of cancer cried alot. But I didn't quite "get" the quirky older lady who used to weep during worship and act funny sometimes. I didn't understand that her loss took the form not of physical death but of a stolen girlhood, of being molested by all the men in her life and an adulthood full of addiction and brokenness as a result. To my immature mind and heart, "loss" simply meant: losing someone you love to death. I couldn't comprehend any other kind of loss.
Loss may look like your grandfather passing away.
Or it may take the shape of the love of your life who walked out on you and slammed the door.
Loss may be the dream you held tightly until it slipped from your fingers, gone forever.
Loss may look like a shattered hope.
It may haunt you as a broken romance.
Loss may be the baby aren't able to have, but miss somehow.
The husband you dream of, but still haven't met.
Loss may be the illness your body can't beat.
The love who cheated on you.
The boyfriend who doesn't want you anymore.
Loss may be the family who disowned you.
The people who completely and totally misunderstood you. Who were hurt by you, and you didn't even mean it.
The friend who accused you, slandered you, shafted you, and turned on you.
Loss may look like the mistake you made. That one stupid decision that haunts you.
The regret that follows you around.
It may be the dream you're too scared to chase.
Loss can be time spent and never regained. Years lost.
Loss may look like the reality of your life today, and how utterly different it is than the life you planned.
Today, Loss came to my door and knocked. It looked like my sweet family's Labrador Retriever taking his last breath and passing away. He died just as the sun rose, joining his brother who passed a few months ago. My heart is heavy and I cried all day. Yet, Loss has come and colored the last few years of my life, and especially the past few months, in other ways - those intangible ways. Sometimes, the very thought of Loss makes me shudder. No, no, no my heart screams as I run fast away from it, denying it, begging it away. But then, when it comes - as it surely will come in this broken world - I find it to be a kind of friend. I know Loss, I know tears. And when they cross my path I nod my head to them, and even embrace them for a moment. Because, Loss gave me the key to the door where I found Jesus in a sacred place. Loss - if you let it - will take the form of an opportunity: to run into His chambers, to beg for Him to come, to surrender, to fall to His feet and weep - to find yourself broken in His arms. And brokenness can really be a sweet place to be. Because, in brokenness, I have found that my God is strong. And in His strength, I can face tomorrow. In His strength, I can run again and smile again, laugh again and hope again.
Forgive me, sweet reader, if this blog post is a rambling, hot mess. For, tonight I am just that myself. But I hope that through my metaphor and rabbit trail, you may find some reminder -wherever you are. On the mountain tops of happiness or the valleys of sorrow. I want you to know, tonight, that however Loss has graced your life - it is real and it is OK to feel. And it is also a sacred opportunity to cry out to Jesus, who is life itself - and who holds the hope our hearts long for when Loss throws us into the depths of despair.
Through tears, I smile. Because I am reminded of this:
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