P1020582“Sometimes I can’t stop crying at night,” she said to me.

I understand; I don’t at all. I don’t know what it’s like to lose a husband after a lifetime of having him.

Someone else, whose mom recently die, (her mom had lived with her and taken care of her for fifty years),  said to me recently, “I just feel so totally al0ne. I miss my mom. We used to sing together. Now she’s gone. I sing alone. I watch TV alone. She isn’t there to laugh with me, to tell her something that I’m thinking. I feel so all alone.”

I’ve felt alone —  not that alone. I don’t know what it’s like to lose a mom that took care of me for fifty years because my disability made me dependent on her, then to have her gone, vanished, never coming back, an empty apartment, everyday and every night. The silence. The utter aloneness.

We know; we don’t know. We know loss; we don’t know others loss if we haven’t experienced it. Empathy only goes part way up the steep path.

This week we finished cleaning out the old house that once served as the church office. It was a house, then an office, now it is going to be put on a truck, driven to a new lot, and become a house again. It is being repurposed.

Life is like that, here, gone, then something new.

I told one of my friends whose has experienced a huge loss, “Think of it as like moving to another country. You used to live in the country of  mutual dependence; now you live in the land of independence. In this new land you make your own decisions, and you take responsibility for yourself. It’s very different for you, it’s scary,  but gradually you’ll get more used to  your new country and it feels more familiar to you.”

I know what I’m talking about; I have no idea! Every person has a snowflake experience of life; every relationship is unique, every loss is unique too. And yet I’ve noticed of late that loss has a parallelism in it; my tracks run through territory not unlike that which others travel.

Loss has a tendency to have a kind of gain in it. Gain runs right there along side of loss.

The old house has that in it.  Things that happened in that old house that were vert good; people connected with each other there. Other things  dark, harmful and  wrong happened in that house. Peope were hurt there. I’m glad the house is moving. A bit of the ugly past  moves with it, and gone, the space opens up for something beautiful, and new.

I’m happy. I am happy for what will replace the house. The little piece of earth it has squatted on will now become a beautiful church courtyard, a patio garden, a place where lovers will marry, where children will chase each other, where people will sit and eat and talk and be not so alone anymore at all.

We drew the plans for the new courtyard on paper this week. Very soon it won’t be on paper. I’ll walk on new; I’ll celebrate on it! I’ll walk on an epiphany, a vision, a dream — a sacred space will itself contain new paths that will lead to new relationships.

Loss can be so very painful;  we won’t have what we once had, ever again, and that really sucks.  And yet, when something is gone, then there is new space for something else to begin. Loss creates new open space, to run in and new experience to play with,  and new places to be a different person in. Change offers a different country to find new friends to sit with, to cry with and to talk a little to and maybe sing together with.

I’m looking forward to seeing that old house on a truck, flying down the street to its new home.  I’m looking forward to a new garden to sit in with new friends, especially those friends who have losses and need a new space to recover in, and places, just perhaps, to laugh in, once again.

I don’t like loss, but I like new places.

Let it come.

  1. Pat Frehafer says:

    Thoughtful and provocative message. I don’t like loss, and I have to be coaxed into embracing change. I wish I could see it with the same sense of anticipation that is encouraged here. I know the key for me is found in Paul’s words in Philippians 4: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”
    With that in mind, every change is a new opportunity.

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