“Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.”
— Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860)
We live in an upside-down world, where too much pleasure often delivers pain, and pain, when it’s handled well, often delivers blessing—eventually. It’s difficult for us to accept that we cannot be in pleasure all the time. And it’s just as difficult to accept that experiences of loss involve a journey before we redeem any hope of blessing.
It’s little wonder that we struggle in understanding the meaning of life, including the meaning of our lives in the context of life.
But we are too easily swayed away from the blessings we ought to eventually behold if we get despondent; if we give up before we start; if we see life as just too hard, too painful. We must continue to hold on.
Enjoying Thoughts for Growth
If there is one thing we can look forward to in the midst of loss it’s what God is showing us; what we are learning.
It may seem a bitter lesson, but life the way we see it right now is not the way we will see it in two years time. We tend to think about our future lives from the present viewpoint, not considering we’ll be changed somewhat by the events of our lives. Never are we fixed in one spot.
When we are faced with a heartrending loss we might well ask ourselves, “What possible hope do I have?” Indeed, there are times when all we want to do is cling to that hope, if we have access to it.
That hope may be closer than we think.
That hope may begin with the things we are learning, even today; even from within the midst of numbness, anger, denial, or just plain sorrow; or, even the fleeting pleasures.
With one of our metaphorical eyes on the pain, and the other open wide enough to consider the learning, we are given access to understand some of life’s most cherished mysteries. We may never be in this position for sight ever again. Maybe God is trying to show us something in such a quivering engagement. Perhaps this is the healthy distraction from the pain we need.
Being Made Stronger and Better
Learning comes for one reason: to make us stronger, broaden our capacities and make us more flexible and amenable to life.
What better objective could there be from learning than to make us better?
There will come a time in life, much later than now or now as we look back, when we will see such strength of character as a necessity for dealing with the present day’s challenges.
There is ultimately great meaning in loss. Indeed, losses reveal a richness of meaning, but we may only see it with the benefit of hindsight. In the midst of grief we must hold on to the hope that there will be meaning made known to us; that our lives will prosper as a result.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.