We expect it to be there. We expect him/her to be there. We expect our own selves to be there. We expect a schedule, a season, a welcome, an acceptance, a hand, a pat on the back, some encouragement, support. A smile.
Which is to say: we wait. We hope. We yearn. We long for response. We fear that something won’t happen. We search in endless places for a face and hands and arms that draw us in and make us safe.
This is the nature of loss, and it might seem that the real problem is that we expect too much, that we hope at all, that we are looking for emotional, material and social handouts.
The real issue is this: our hopes and expectations arise from a place deep within us that really does know. It really will guide and direct us. It really is wisdom. We have learned, often early in life, not to trust this inner wisdom, that our hopes, desires and expectations are selfish, and that we are arrogant for thinking that life can be supportive.
But life can be supportive, and life can be so supportive that when we do lose things and loves, other loves show up to support us and help us through. We can ask our loves for support. We can ask life for support. We are not diminished and our losses are not increased because we ask for support. We do not have to wait to be asked for support, either. When we see another in the midst of loss, we have instincts that tell us to reach out. Those are our natural instincts. We can act on them. Every time we do, someone–the beneficiary–moves a step closer to beginning to believe that life really does support us—like a little boat on the flowing rivers of life. How is someone’s loss calling to us today?