Posted by: Terri Johnston Fraracci | May 23, 2016

Some thoughts on the seasoned person’s losses and gains

Loss……..

It’s an awfully big, round, full, yet cavernous, echoing word made up of just four little letters. And the older we get, the more prolific the number of losses becomes.

Loss comes with seasoning. You can’t live 50 plus years without losing someone you treasure along the way. Chances are that by the time you reach 50 that ‘someone’ becomes  ‘someones’ as elder family members, peers, and those taken by accident, addiction, suicide, and disease begin to take more and more.

And that’s only half of the equation: Personal physical loss in varying degrees can’t be helped because that’s the nature of things. No matter how healthy you are, your body can’t be in the optimal condition it was once upon a time any more than your car can. Both can be in optimal condition for their age, but optimal does not equal young or new.

Loss…………. What are we to do with the mounting, inevitable losses?

We can’t change it. We are tempted to rail against it, but that doesn’t help. We can’t get away with not dealing with it unless we break all ties before they are broken. They’re still broken, aren’t they? That’s no good.

That leaves us with acceptance. That leaves us with going deeper; mining if you will. Sifting through the losses (when we are ready) to look for the gains – the lessons – the silver – those things we can’t possibly see while we are still reeling, but are also a set part of the nature of things.

I don’t think there is a solid answer. I don’t think these losses come with a “one size fits all” lesson or lessons. But I do believe there are reasons for living through, living with, and determining to go on from our losses, attuned to the messages within.

For me, it feels like a pruning, a honing down, an invitation to move back to a center once obscured by layers of youth, appearance, focus on others, human doings, circumstance, and a host of ongoing, ever-changing outside matters.

Minus some key people and physical functions we didn’t realize we would lose, we are faced with our center – our spirit – ‘what was’ before we started walking the human being trek, ‘what will’ survive when we cross the final line. ‘What begins’ to reveal itself again through our losses: gain.

I believe this. I believe it wholeheartedly; not at the time of fresh loss; not at the time I notice that some part of my body won’t do what it once did as well, or at all, but after I begin to work my way through the grief, lessons and gifts sure enough begin to poke up through the arid ground that hosts loss.

Where am I going with this? I don’t actually have a particular direction in mind. You are getting my thoughts as they come on a subject now very much part of the fabric of the life of a seasoned person. You are getting a chance to think about it yourself.

And hopefully you are getting some encouragement and hope. Because I’m beginning to see a little gain here and there. I’m beginning to understand that it is not all loss. It is not a downhill slide from here, meant to be navigated from a rocking chair.

It’s a challenge. It’s an opportunity. It’s a gift. No, not the losses themselves. They hurt. And when they hurt I let them. I don’t jump to the gifts. I wouldn’t ask you too, either. We have to walk through first. We have to.

But somewhere down the road, if you are willing and aware, lies a tiny nugget of purpose for you. There is a spiritual reason for unreasonable human loss, unfair physical function loss, for being stripped back down to the center of who we are.

*If you are suffering new loss of either kind right now, dismiss this essay or tuck it into your mind somewhere for later. Now is not the time to mine. Now is the time to walk.

This spiritual principle is for later. This is for ‘pick up the pieces and figure out what still fits and what doesn’t’ time. This is for recognizing and fitting new and renewed pieces into place. This is for later.

 

grief does not

 

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