Loss: My Whole Life

Recently, pondering some rather minor situations that were disappointing to me, I had what I can only call a moment of clarity.  I was sitting there mulling over the situation, and these words formed within me:  “I’ve been living my whole life for this moment.”

At first glance, that seems pretty depressing.  I’ve had a disappointing experience and I come to see that I’ve lived my whole life for this?  Since that moment, I’ve continued to have these words with me:  I’ve lived my whole life for THIS moment.  I’ve experienced some pretty amazing moments in my life:  the births of our three children; visits to places in the world that are stunning; precious interchanges with friends and family that cannot be scripted or repeated; not to mention the series of events that brought my beloved and me together and to create a life together now for 33 years.  Each of those moments qualifies as “I’ve lived my whole life for this moment.” And that is not depressing, and no one would suggest that it was arrogant, either.

When I find myself in the midst of disappointment, hurt, pain, sadness, anger, fear–all the forms that loss takes, can I begin to see that my whole life has brought me to this moment, too?  Without shame?  Without judgment?

Every moment is built on those that have come before it, and it, in turn, unfolds into the stone pathmoments yet to be, one at a time.  The insight that I am gaining with this little personal mantra is that my whole life–all of its experiences of so many kinds–has brought me to, prepared me for, set me up for, helped me receive THIS MOMENT. If it is a beautiful moment, I can receive that and enjoy it.  If it is a fragile moment of loss, my whole life has brought me to it.  I bring my heart, my tears, my compassion, my tenderness, my strength,  my righteous anger, my fortitude and courage.  I live into this moment because my  life has brought me to it.  The gifted moments. The moments of loss.

My beloved and I were talking recently about our life together.  What things would we skip or avoid if we had a life do-over?  We named various things, and yet this became clear: even those most embarrassing, most difficult, most painful moments brought us to THIS moment.  If we skipped them, our path would not lead to here.  And HERE is where we live.  NOW is all we have. THIS moment is our life, one moment at a time.

No one signs up for loss, but loss does create many of the stones on our path.

Bob Patrick

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