“OUR world stood still at the same time as others’ worlds operated normally.”
This observation of my wife’s came as I recounted exactly where we were this date the previous year. A seriously significant twin disaster was about to take place within a few days. Yet, it is my wife’s perception that our world appeared to have stood still; we were living abreast of life and yet we were not at all connected with life as others were living it. We had been shoved onto another track — an eternal track — and perhaps we are still, in some ways, still on that track.
My perception is different. I battled to keep up. The pace of that season (July-November 2014) was frenetic. But where our perceptions do meet is in the area of life experience that is worlds apart. We cannot hope to know what normal life was during that season, just as those enjoying the normal life may have little idea what life would be like standing still as a storm approaches.
Living a life that is interrupted by loss is an interesting proposition. We tend not to really live it. We tend to die in the midst of it and we might otherwise just simply exist. Passion is sapped and enthusiasm must be manufactured. There is a hopelessness as a void in the space of purpose. For a time our purpose becomes estranged to ambition. We are engaged in very different ways than we would be normally. We are going through what could be termed ‘a flux’.
Anyone who has faced month after month of loss — who cannot live a normal life — is catapulted into an adapted way of living. Compensations are made; they have to be. There has to be one way of surviving this, despite the impossibility of finding such a way.
Your loss is the making of you, afterwards. By faith we stride ahead, never knowing even if we are wasting our time or not. Faith has us do what we think is ridiculous, but because we believe we cannot not do this thing.
We must give ourselves a chance. Others might be able to give up on us, but we know there is not only folly in that, but we can’t give up. We seek wisdom’s way through.
Losses define us because we live eternally through our grief. For a time we depart this world. Our worlds have been paused. Meaning takes on a gravity we hardly realised as possible. And meaning can never be returned to the ambivalent psyche. Once we are awakened we no longer have the capacity to fall asleep.
Great pain has its benefits in what we are called to endure simply by enduring.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.