Pages

Pondering... Overcoming Loss

When I left my last husband six years ago in December, my life was in shambles. The final years of that relationship were so emotionally destructive that  I had no clue about what side was up or who I even was anymore.  I had no idea how to come to terms with yet one more devastating loss in my life.  It felt like there was nothing left to lose.  Deep down I knew I had no choice but to leave him if I was going to survive at all, and somehow, despite feeling numb and nearly immobile,  my survival instinct kicked in and propelled me forward and out the door.

Moving out on my own at over fifty years age was the scariest thing I've ever done. I knew that freedom wasn't an end in itself, but just a beginning, and that somehow I had to find a way to rediscover myself and rebuild my life.  The blog I started at that time was aptly named "Picking Up Pieces". 

What I have learned in life, and particularly from that experience, is that we have two options when dealing with devastation in our lives, no matter what form that loss might take.  We can curl up in a corner, withdraw from living, and become hard and bitter; or we can bravely, and with all the determination we can muster, put one foot in front of the other and move forward, even if just one baby-step at a time. 

Just as with all walks, if we spend our time looking backward at what is being left behind, we are going to trip and fall over every tiny rock rock or obstacle on the new path.  Only when we are willing to let go of the past, stop trying to sort out the blame or make excuses for our woeful situation, and focus our eyes firmly on the future, can we begin to make any real progress in building a new life that reflects who we are and want to become.  

My answer to Brenda's question of how we overcome loss is thee-fold... first, we must accept that loss is a part of life, much like the butterfly who must be willing to accept the loss of the security of his cocoon in order to fly free.  We change, circumstances change, and things and people come and go.  We are not singled out, loss happens to everyone.

Second, we need to take an inventory of our lives, count our blessings and see all we still have that is good.  I assure you there are always blessings to count if you look hard enough!   

Third, we must find our survivor spirit, and determine what steps we can take to move forward.  In other words, we must sort thru the pieces, find the ones that are worth salvaging, discard the rest, and work to build something new. 

Some days it will feel hopeless, and easy to believe that nothing good will ever come again, that we will never, ever feel happy again. But life isn't really like that.  Life cycles, and what may, at the moment, seem to be the end of the road, is almost always just a bend in the road that we are unable to see past until we come around. 

Loss of things and people precious too us can feel so devastating that we doubt if we have the strength and ability, or even the desire, to recover.  My life is a testimony to the fact that just when we think there is no more good to come, no point in even caring or trying, God will enter with some amazing developments we never could have anticipated. 

Let go of the past, don't let it be the millstone around your neck - it's over, it's done. Close the back door, and open up the front one to new possibilities.  Overcoming loss is all about having faith, maintaining hope, and loving yourself enough to believe that you are deserving of a happy and meaningful life.  Cast off that victim mentality and join me in becoming a survivor... we are many, and together we are strong!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Linking up with Brenda at Pondering With A Purpose
where this week's prompt is "overcoming loss"

16 comments:

  1. Josie, this was great and just what I needed. Lately, I've been faced with one year ending and another beginning and thinking about where I've been, where I'm headed and where i want to be. I've been tormented by the past, bad choices and all that has lead me to where I am at this very moment, and it's not a very good place. I've decided to make some changes, starting with ME. Its time to let it all go and move forward. Thanks Josie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've made so many bad choices in my past Robin that I could fill a book with them, but I don't beat myself up over it any more and you shouldn't either. We've LEARNED tremendously from those experiences... especially what lessons we don't want to repeat! So consider it a foundation of wisdom to build in another direction. You know in your heart what you want your life to be, listen, and follow! You can do it! :-)

      Delete
  2. I'm going to save this post Josie..."Let GO of the Past" you have hit the nail on the head. I have done or am trying to do this myself. It is not always easy when you still have some connections to "THe Past" that can not be cut, but to the extent that you can let go...let go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is true Joe that sometimes we can't sever all ties to the past, such as when children are involved. What we can do then is free ourselves of the negativity and emotion tied up with it... accept it for what it was or wasn't, find the least invasive way to deal with it, and don't let the past steal your joy today! I believe we can make peace with our past, I've even made peace with my ex and we are friends now, still caring about each other, though I definitely wouldn't take him back!

      Delete
  3. Beautiful testiment. Renewal. What a word! Re anything! Jesus takes it all and fashions it anew!! Renew. Renewal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Carrie! Renewal is indeed a beautiful word! The beginning of a new year is a perfect time to contemplate renewal, fashioning something new and wonderful with God's help and guidance!

      Delete
  4. What a wonderful post! Josie... you and I are so similar... except I haven't found my papa bear :).... If we spent all the time looking backward, not only would we trip on every stone and tree branch, we would never have progressed to where we are today.... Unfortunately the past does rear it's ugly little head and doubts creep in, but when the day is done we know that our loss actually turned into a gain.
    thank you so much for pondering with me this year.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Brenda! I have totally enjoyed your weekly pondering sessions... everyone knows how I love to climb on my soapbox and expound a bit, and you provide the motivation! Sure there are days when memories tug at our hearts and we glance back a bit, especially during the holiday season, but then we put that box of mixed emotions back in the attic and move ahead. I have no doubt that someone wonderful is waiting just for you, as I always tell my daughter "keep your light on"! HUGS and Merry Christmas to you and yours as well!

      Delete
  5. You survived, as did John his own heartbreak. Together you have built love from two broken hearts.
    Each of us has a journey, and we have to find our way. It is a blessing to not walk it alone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so very true McGuffy Ann, life is so much easier if we have people who love and care about us to walk beside us, at least for awhile. I know how much joy and healing Bill has brought to your life too. We are truly blessed!

      Delete
  6. Our journeys are often fraught with ill conceived ideas, bad choices and uncontrollable situations, but we grow stronger with each step we take and if we are fortunate we come to an intersection of life where we meet those we have for a moment, some for a time and some perhaps for eternity. If we listen we can learn so much from each one, and each helps us to leave our past behind, making each step taken forward closer to self happiness and self worth.You have journeyed many a path my friend and have grown strong enough to help those that are struggling and working through their steps for y=that I personally say thank you and I admire you for the struggles you have survived. Bless you:) hugs and love ((xx))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for such a kind and thoughtful comment, Len. It is true that the most important thing we can all do when we manage to move a step or two forward on the path is to reach back, grab someone's hand, and help them along. Life, if it did not involve interacting with others, would seem fairly meaningless to me. I believe that the whole purpose of life's journey is to learn to walk together.

      Delete
  7. An excellent post, Josie, and I agree with you straight down the line. One of the most important things to remember is something you said in one of the comments… we have to be very careful not to get into the same pattern again, that caused some of the troubles. But, no batter how bad, we have to keep on going. At every age, we are at a junction between the past and the future, and we have to look forward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's right Shimon, it took me a long time to realize I was making the same mistakes over and over and they always turned out badly for me. Now I look for new and smarter choices! And you are exactly right, no matter what happens we have to find our bearings and keep going forward, life doesn't stand still! Thank you for stopping by!

      Delete
  8. This is one of the wisest things I have ever read. It's true...we HAVE to keep going and life does turn in cycles. WE simply can't stay down forever. I truly love your insights... they mean so much to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well Selma, wisdom, if you can call it that, comes from experience... in my case hitting my head against the wall repeatedly until I finally figure out that hurts! ;-) I know you have a survivor spirit like mine, or you wouldn't be here. You've found new ways to adapt to life's changes and you will find new happiness in unexpected places! :-)

      Delete

Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)