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The Hope in Loss
God can transform your life, but you must be willing!
Life after loss
I remember my first bad memory. I was a carefree, imaginative, and funny looking eight year old; who’s only concern was being as smart as everyone else. One day after school my siblings and I were greeted by our mother. She was not crying, but I remember seeing fear in her eyes, I had never seen that look before so I shrank back knowing something bad was about to happen. I don’t know how as an eight year old I felt so much from the people around me, but I guess that’s a part of being human. My grandpa had died unexpectedly. He was a farmer, the kind of guy that even though I barely knew him and never had a real conversation with him, he was the kind of guy that just made you feel loved. I was his granddaughter, and unpleasant one at times that crawled around like a dog and pretended I was a baby so that he would hold me, but I was his granddaughter that loved him. I loved him because my family loved him, because there was so much respect for grandpa.
Being a farmer, there were certain dangers involved. My father lost his brother much too early by a tracker accident, and my father lost his dad too early by a stubborn steer that knocked him onto a fence. These were all accidents, fatal accidents that could not be explained or blamed on anyone, and they were heartbreaking. I knew at the age of eight that grief was the type of thing that came in waves and that never left. As the years passed by and the memory of my grandpa faded, I still felt sad for my loss, sad that I didn’t get nearly enough time with a man that made me feel loved. I missed out and that is a fact, but moving on was inevitable. I began to forget what loss felt like.
My childhood was filled with good memories. I was a lucky girl with good siblings and good parents. I wasn’t poor or abused; I was like I said lucky. When I was sad I felt guilty because I didn’t nearly have enough reason to be. I always had the future on my mind, causing me to consider what unlucky things might happen to me. If I could not be content in happiness, how will I live in unhappiness, the death of my grandpa revealed to me that at some point everyone will die. This didn’t make me fearful of death, but rather living. How could life be worth living when the people you love are going to die anyway? I chose to live in denial.
I never knew how much time had passed because I wasn’t really living, and I was ok with that for a while, but now looking back, if I had been living it would’ve saved a lot of heartache. Even now after so much heartache I am glad I’ve chosen to acknowledge each day. I used to think life would get more interesting as I grew older, which isn’t necessarily false, but life really gets interesting when you chose to be interested in living life.
I was eighteen; I made friends with several people. I wasn’t friendly, more reserved, but all the same I was crazy inside. I moved on into a dorm and lived with a girl that I enjoyed talking to, we were completely different, but worked well together. Three months went by and I wrote in my journal that I considered her my sister. I was too busy, and she didn’t like how often I was gone. I was always working or plotting with other friends and she reminded me frequently that she missed me. So I decided that I would try to include her more and maybe go back to Delaware with her like she wished. I didn’t get a chance though.
I lost her as a friend.
At eighteen I was reminded that loss looks different but it still hurts and it is still loss. Though my first roommate is still here and I am still here, she does not know me. I know her but vaguely as the years have passed. One car accident and we are no longer friends. I had never really experienced loss of a friendship, especially not in that way.
Everyone told me it was not my fault. But I knew they were just being nice, because I am imperfect and I could not see what was so obviously coming at us. I could not see the gold minivan. If I had seen it none of this heartache would’ve been experienced.
I never entertained the thought of “what did I do to deserve this?” But rather I understood something that a lot of people don’t realize. This world is imperfect, I was born imperfect and I will continue to live imperfect, however hard I strive to be perfect. I see a fallen world, where accidents happen.
Loss. No matter what you lose, if it is someone or something that you had once loved, it will take much time to heal. For me it is taking years, but these years do not consist of depression, or sadness, but rather the opportunity to find joy amidst hardships. I have experience more joy in the past couple of years than I ever did before my losses, because I am choosing to find joy in one person that is sustaining and true, and that is God.
When I choose to remain in my loss and imperfections I am denying myself of rest. Rest that I can only find through God. Rest that saves me from a life of depression. No matter how busy you make yourself, or how much you strive to feel happy, you will be depressed if you do not find true joy. You must take it from the beginning to truly heal, acknowledge the heartache in your life and allow yourself to feel it, denying sadness is denying oneself from healing.
Last year, a co-worker that I became friends with passed away. The week it happened I could barely speak or be around people without breaking into crying. My friends were concerned for me; I couldn’t not open up or speak about it. I was so heartbroken. My friend’s funeral reminded me how one’s life can be a testimony even after one has passed, and my friend’s story was a powerful one. She was adopted into a loving family, from a woman that had several children before the age of twenty. She grew up in a safe environment and felt close to her family, but still was rebellious and suffered from medical conditions that caused her to feel like she was losing a part of herself. She left as a teenager and experienced the world, working hard and trying to find value through men. When I met her she had just given her life to God, and she was so joyful about it, it was hard to picture her living any other way. I enjoyed how open she was with me about her past, and how she was willing to challenge me.
She was one of those people that made it clear that she loved you and would be there for you. And her story can change so many people. Losing her as a friend was something I wish I didn’t have to experience but God has blessed my life and my perseverance. He felt my sadness and comforted me when I called out to him in my car at eleven o’clock the night after she died. He was there and provided more peace than I could’ve ever found anywhere else. God never wants to see anyone perish, but a Christian that perishes will be comforted by God and will be welcomed into His arms.
This comforts me, and I believe it is true. Learning about God’s character has helped me grieve, and the more I learn about his compassion and love the more I go to Him and trust that He will always comfort me, if it be something small or something as heartbreaking as death.
Self-pity is dangerous. I lived in it for nearly an entire year, and I had no clue. I slept to forget my loneliness and woke up remembering my sadness. I didn’t desire to go to God because I knew He would help me and I didn’t think I deserved help. Self-pity ruins life. I’m glad I was saved from it and got tired of it and finally accepted people’s love and especially God’s love.
God can transform your life but you must be willing.