It takes a tragedy to remind you of what truly matters. And tragedy, like any other word, can be defined loosely by all, and specifically only by you. My epic tragedy may just be your comedy of errors. Your little catastrophe may be my little denouement.
So you lost her. So you’re in pieces. So you feel empty and ruined again. So what?
Even a devastation of minor proportions can make you sit back and question, “Why am I grieving? What have I lost? I mean, truly lost?”
Go back to that word, “loss”. Go back and see how everything you are has shaped and defined and remoulded and refined that word for you so that today, it means something far more treacherous than it ever began with.
Take that word and put it under a microscope and look at it from all sides. That sharp point came from when your 2 best friends played hide and seek with you in the mall and never came looking for you. That rusty corner is a result of your mother leaving your father when you were 5 and refusing to take you with her. That glass-shard jagged edge came from finding the love of your life and watching her leave. And come back. And leave. And come back. Until you said, “please, just stop.”
But loss is still just a word. It’s what you’ve attached to it that makes it a fire-breathing dragon. Or a hole in your gut. Or a gorilla on your chest that doesn’t let you breathe without crying out.
Ask yourself what you have truly lost today. Is your integrity intact? Your sense of humour? How about compassion? Kindness? Your ability to make eye contact with a beggar? Still there? Yes? Good. Can you put aside your pain to listen to a friend tell you about his sick son? Do you think you might be able to look in the mirror without wanting to hit yourself today? And can you please be there to wake up tomorrow morning and make yourself breakfast? If you can do these things, you’re not just okay, you’re doing well, and you have lost nothing you cannot rebuild or regain.
When you strip certain words of the feelings you attach to them, you take back your power. When you write, “I am hurting,” it may hurt. But if you write, “I’m doing okay,” you may also manage to feel a little okay. This is the power of language. This is the power of a mercurial, malleable spirit. But more significantly, this is your own power. This is the power you julienne and scatter magnetically towards thousands of thoughts, sensations, experiences, ideas, and people. Your power does not only belong to you, it belongs with you. When you tell yourself, “I lost such and such a thing,” or, “I feel so lost without so and so,” you only reaffirm and retrench that idea. It is not a fact, remember, it is a thought based on your own self and what you have chosen to do and make of your experiences. And thoughts can be changed. Your power/lessness is determined by what you choose to give of yourself and what you choose to keep. So choose wisely, and choose well. Your mistakes should be made only for you.
What have you lost today? You may be humbled to rediscover that you are still alive. Living, breathing, feeling. And still capable of great love, great things; a great, meaningful life. So do it now. Sit back, and ask yourself: when you lose, what have you truly lost.