Is it possible to thrive when circumstances are tough? How do we live satisfied if we are sick, or the bills are unpaid, or our marriage has failed? Bills are meant to be paid, aren’t they? We used the services, we ought to pay.
Isn’t it reckless and irresponsible to be satisfied in the situation where we can’t meet up with those credit card payments? Triangular trips – Doctor, Chemist, Labs. The loss of perfect health; the loss of jobs; the loss of a marriage. Big losses. Life feels emptied – turned upside down and the very last dredges shaken out. How can anyone even mention the word “Full”? It doesn’t make sense.
Due diligence comes next, and so it should be. Return visits to the doctor, the physio, the chemist, and the labs. Take the prescriptions, change them when the side effects mount up. Search for new work. Churn out application after application. Take the rejection on the chin. Try again and again. And. Again. Do the counselling. Work on the marriage. Keep trying. Now, the mental toll begins to mount. Why is it so hard to fix things this time around? This is not us. We usually win. We pace in our minds, turning situations around this way and that. Panic. We are in troubled and uncharted waters and we are not resting on our oars. No. We are rowing frantically, trying to get back to shore. To how it used to be. The past comforts. The past bill of health. The past glory. But with all the effort and mental strain, loss sits there solid. Confronting. Loss stares us dead in the eyeballs. Bold. Unflinching. Arrogant. In all the panic, we have been staring back, focusing on the giant and being scared stiff. We know it’s just for a season. We hope it’s just for a season. But this time who knows. We’ve never been through this before, not for this long. Just how long is this season going to last? It’s anyone’s guess. This one has gone on forever. The staring giant looks like he’s here to stay. Forever. We have focused on the loss so long that we have memorised every freckle and the hair line. The mental torture will do more damage than the loss.
Break the stare and look up. The eyes, our eyes, they haven’t been lost. We can choose where we focus. It’s time to look away. It takes a while for the lenses to adjust to the new perspective, but once they do we begin to see. Just a change of focus and courage begins to sip into our system like an IV line. Yes we have had these losses but we still have to live regardless. We’re not going to lie down and die. But how to live? How do we do this? How do we not just exist? How do we break this shackling hold and just thrive?
A whispered prayer calms racing thoughts. We are still aware that the loss is there. We are still doing our due diligence, but something has changed. Our perspective. If the giant is staying put then we’re moving away. There’s life to be lived. This life is not yet lost. The hope is ours to grasp. The flowers are there blooming hard for us to notice. Family is still there for us to love. The texture of their hair. The softness of their cheeks. Those haven’t been lost. The smell of freshly cut grass. The smell of tea. The flower on the kitchen window sill. That bird settling on the shrub outside our dining room window. The familiar greeting of our neighbour. Our favourite nook at home. The fast internet at work. The shade of that old lady’s nail polish on that bus ride. The view from the ferry. Early morning dew. The eggs from our chicken. Our favourite butcher. The postman’s knock. That email from a friend across the world. Ok, make that a Facebook poke.
A boulder might have been taken from our lives, but these insignificant grains of sands and pebbles, these make the jars of our life full. They have always been there but we never noticed their significance because we were staring at the giant. That focus had been on the boulder we lost and how empty it made us feel. Now that the gaze has shifted, we see how the small pebbles and sand make our lives full. The big losses do not empty life.
Now it starts to make sense. Is it possible to live in full abundance while experiencing loss? Yes but only when we change our perspective and recognise that all that really made life full had never actually been lost.