Photo of My Sister and I.
I wasn’t myself last Friday. I was too blunt. I didn’t listen. I felt restless. Most of all I felt tired. So, I slept for 12 hours straight.
Yep. In a world that idolizes productivity, I laid like a slug and did nothing but sucked up time.
Sunday, I felt sad and restless. Monday even sadder. What?! Me? A motivational speaker who teaches people how to be happy? Yep. And I was fine with it.
You can’t love without loss.
I walked outside a lot Sunday and Monday thinking about daffodils and little girls in Easter dresses. Boys running rampant grabbing candy filled eggs. Grandparents in their Sunday best asking, “What?” every 5 seconds on the sofa.
How different this year will be.
No half-eaten ham left on the table. No tiny colorful candy wrappers scattered on the floor where the kids counted their candy. No shoving the leftover deviled eggs in the refrigerator, so no one gets food poisoning. No fruit filled jello mold-which truthfully, I’m fine with.
We all have rituals this time of year. Whether it’s celebrating the Passover, listening to elderly “Mrs. So and So” sing hymns way to loud at the back of the choir, or listening to your drunk Uncle’s conspiracy theory tangents for a pleasant holiday meal.
We come together this time of year, different cultures, races, religions, and celebrate traditions that make us unique- but also make us one.
Yet-here we are. April 2020.
Now every blog writer, motivational speaker, etc., knows here is where I insert the BUT and spin everything into a positive take away for you in order to keep you reading.
But I’m not going to do that….yet. I’m going to take it a step further.
Stay with me. (I promise this gets to be about you soon.)
As I said, life is about love. You can’t love without loss.
When you hear older people reflect on their regrets in life, it’s usually about chasing after things that didn’t matter or choosing the safer route in their day to day living. Choosing career over children. Choosing protection over pursuit. Choosing being right over relationship.
Looking back, they know something many of us don’t know. It’s something you won’t hear about from those with a “success mindset”, either.
Life is really about love. Love is a driving force in all of our lives from birth to death.
We long to be loved despite our flaws. We strive to love other people despite their flaws…or the cost. We long for a loving community. A loving world.
Real religion is about love. Relationships are about love. We are born needing, wanting, and thriving on love.
This is not wishful thinking. Most of the choices we make are bound by one thing-to be loved or to display our love.
We want to be beautiful, successful, thinner, wealthier. Why? So that we’re “easier to love”.
We work, we sacrifice. Why? For those we love.
Love risks, and most often, requires loss. Loss of self. Loss of security. Loss of time. Loss of control. Loss of the ability to prevent ourselves from experiencing pain.
In my faith as a Christian, we celebrate Easter as the ultimate example of love-Jesus’ love. A love that displayed the ultimate loss – life itself on a cross.
Real love is a unique combination of sorrow and satisfaction. Service and sacrifice. Beauty and brokenness. Loyalty and freedom. Life giving and soul wrenching.
We’ve experienced this perhaps with a parent or grandparent. In loving a child. A spouse. The military. A neighbor. A friend.
And now by healthcare workers across the globe.
Many of us are experiencing loss right now. Loss of stability. Loss of routines. Loss of a job. Loss of face to face relationships. Loss of identity. Loss of a sense of purpose. Unfortunately, some are also facing the heart wrenching loss of a loved one.
Now truer than ever is the ol’ line, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”
If you are experiencing the feelings of loss or grief-it may be because you loved something you didn’t even know you loved.
Loss is often mixed with sorrow. I looked up the origins of word “sorrow” and according to etymononline.com, it comes from words meaning, “grief, regret, anxiety” and “illness”.
If you find yourself-especially during this time of celebration-struggling with anxiety, grief, regret, or a sense of loss, it may be a sign that shows you- you loved.
You loved your family despite how maddening they are. You love the work involved in setting up a holiday and celebrating it. You loved the traditions that make it uniquely yours.
You loved your job even though you thought you hated it. You loved your freedom to walk among people without fear. You loved your friends. You loved your family. You loved a lot of things about your life.
You loved. And this is a good thing.
When people say to focus on the positive but you find yourself with unexplainable sadness or feelings of anxiety or loss, this means you are a human who has loved fully and for a time- have lost much. And this is ok.
Now, for the part I promised-the bright side. Back to my Christian faith-Jesus loved to the point of losing His life. He did it to bring life-a more abundant life.
During this season we may struggle with loss but it is just a season.
Next year, when the daffodils bloom, the brightly colored candy jar is filled, children are running amuck, and people are arguing in the living room, we will have a new take-a new life on old traditions.
We will have the gift of gratitude. We often discover gratitude during loss. Studies show gratitude is a key ingredient to a living a long-term happy life.
All of the things we took for granted will appear different now. Things that aren’t meaningful fall to wayside. Appreciating the small will become a large part of who we as individuals and even a nation can become.
You’ve lost because you’ve loved. With loss comes gratitude. With gratitude comes love.
This is the cycle that makes life both rich and beautiful.
This is why when I go for my walks I am ok with being a little sad. I recognize it’s a part of the process. Because with death of the old comes new life. Life more abundant.
My Easter prayer this year is that you will discover:
What it is you have loved.
What it is you have lost.
What it is you have to be grateful for.
So that this time next year-you will have a more abundant, happy, rich, and meaningful life.
Stacy Pederson is a Funny Motivational Speaker who has almost died a bunch.