Thursday, March 22, 2012

Loss Clarifies

Storm clouds over our house.

Jerry Sittser, in A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss, writes about the loss of his wife, daughter, and mother in a head-on collision with a drunk driver. He believes that "however painful, sorrow is good for the soul." (74) How so?

"Deep sorrow often has the effect of stripping life of pretense, vanity, and waste. It forces us to ask basic questions about what is most important in life. Suffering can lead to a simpler life, less cluttered with nonessentials. it is wonderfully clarifying. That is why many people who suffer sudden and severe loss become different people." (74)

That is good. We all need to become different people. The death of my baby son made me, in several good ways, a different person. My interpretation is that my Redeemer God redeemed that great loss; God took a bitter lemon and began to squeeze it and make some lemonade out of it.

"Loss provides an opportunity to take inventory of our lives, to reconsider priorities, and to determine new directions." I have heard it said that "Few people wish at seventy that they had worked more hours at the office when they were forty. If anything, they wish that they had given more time back then to their family, friends, and worthy causes. They wish they had dared to say 'no' to pressure, competition, and image and 'no' to their selfishness." (In Ib., 76)

"What good," asked Jesus, "is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet forfeit his soul?"

Here are the questions Loss invites us to ask:
  • What do I believe?
  • Is there life after death?
  • Is there a God?
  • What kind of person am I?
  • Do I really care about other people?
  • How have I used my resources - my time, money, and talent?
  • Where am I headed with my life?
  • What is the meaning of my life?
  • What is my purpose in life?