FB_IMG_1430970218560In my attempt at living my best life, I’ve managed to lose some things along the way. Even when I wasn’t always living my best life, I still managed to lose them – maybe that was the point.  I don’t think it was intentional or even a conscious decision. These things just simply went away and I suppose they had to for one reason or another…many were out of my control. Nothing ever stays the same. Many of these losses were painful and transformational – others were a relief and a burden lifted. However, in each case of loss, in every single situation, there is always something that I find in its place.

Over the years, I’ve lost intimate relationships, marriages, cars, jobs, money, peace of mind, health and, at times, my dignity. The relationships weren’t restored (and I count my blessings for that!), the cars, jobs and money were all replaced (material things that no longer matter – I’ve downsized and am happier!) and my peace of mind, health and dignity were all restored better than ever. Despite the losses, I found that I am a warrior! I found that my powers or resiliency are a force to be reckoned with and the word survivor is an understatement! I found that courage doesn’t mean that I’m never afraid of anything , but that REAL courage means doing the thing that scares you ANYWAY.

I’ve lost two sisters and I’m the only sibling left. The pain from their losses is immeasurable and it’s a wound that will never heal. I’ve had to learn how to live my life without them in it.  In the meantime, I have found that grief and pain are not signs of loss, instead they are the expressions and manifestations of love – love that is no longer physically tangible – only in spirit Yes, my sisters are gone, but I find comfort, most times, in believing that I will see them again.  I have found that grief and pain are personal and as individual as each of us and because of their deaths, I have found a new vision and direction for my life.

I have lost the innocence of blind faith. I have begun to question almost everything that I once believed in – not because I knew these things, but because I was taught them. I have lost the ability to keep my blinders on and ignore what I see. In its place, I have found an impenetrable silence – the noise of the environments are quieted and I can finally hear in my spirit.  I have lost the fear of a God who seeks vengeance and retaliation upon those who believe differently, or even those who don’t believe at all.  I have found that my God is a tolerant, loving, merciful and kind God, a God of peace and the Creator of this universe. He is a God who has given us free will, which includes the will to look beyond and inside – to fearlessly seek my truth, as I will come to know it.

On a less spiritual note, I have lost a little of the youthful spring in my step and girlish roses in my cheeks. Oh yes! My youthful steps have been slowed down by regular visits from Mr. Arthritis (no, not a new boyfriend)  Although he’s a persistent suitor and pays me regular visits, I’m able to fend him off with regular exercise and Zumba and Belly Dancing classes. The “roses” in my cheeks have been replaced by a set of laugh lines that remain even when I’m not laughing. The very fine lines beginning to etch their way around my eyes seem to magically appear overnight. My once tight skin is beginning to show signs of age and, while the wrinkles have mercifully stayed away so far, the subtle sagging hasn’t. Did I mention that moisturizers are my new best friends?  And when exactly did I become a “Ma’am” to everyone? I look in the mirror now, and there is more than a vague trace of the young woman I see in pictures from my 20’s and 30’s. Except now, the face is “set” – it is matured and seasoned – it is a face that has lost its trusting youthfulness, but has found a more enduring beauty. It is a face of a life of gratitude, endless mercies, unmerited favor, forgiveness, resilience, and wisdom.

I’ve lost the exhaustive pretense of unimportant small talk with people whom I couldn’t care less about. The “love everyone” mantra has escaped me and I’m not sending out a search party for it. I’ve decided that altruistic thinking, believing and behaving is no longer healthy for me. I’ve misplaced the need to please, cajole and accommodate people. If it works out, then fine. If not, that’s fine, too…at least for me it is. I’ve dispelled the urge to say yes when I mean no, and no when I mean yes. What has emerged is a woman who doesn’t waste time on meaningless relationships or causes that aren’t important to me – life is short. What I’ve found is the need to remove myself from negativity, confusion and bilious spirits. What I have also found is the need for peace in my life – peace is more important than pay, perks and prosperity, but I’ll take them all if I can get them!

So, I take my daily coffee with the sun and my more-than-occasional glass of Merlot with the stars and I’ll drink to my lost and found and a life well lived.

Artist: Andrew Nichols

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