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"