Sunday, October 23, 2005

Lessons in Loss

When we have very little, and it is taken from us, it sometimes can mean much more than if we lose something of which we have a great amount. This is a basic lesson and truth. Yet, when people who have lost what little they have are angry, frightened, resentful and acting out on those feelings, some of us react in surprise, and with seeming little understanding or concern for their plight.

In the US, we live in a very consumptive society. We do not realize, sometimes, how very much we have especially in comparison to people in other parts of the world. And, compared to people in the parts of our own society in which poverty is rampant.

I am as guilty as anyone. I want nice things. I live a lifestyle of clinging security. Unlike many people of my age, I do not believe in incurring many debts and I do not live beyond my means. I do enjoy some material things.

I have been provided the opportunity, as a social worker and as I go through life, to see the vast contrasts of wealth and material possessions that reign in our society. As such, I am able to remind myself, regularly, how blessed I am even though I am not very wealthy. I am able to survive, have a safe home, meet my needs and tend to myself.

Most importantly, I have some freedoms of choice and action, which many people, less fortunate than I, do not possess. For that I am grateful.

Over the last several years, I have experienced many losses in many forms. I am amazed at the physical strength it takes to survive such losses. I think that is an important lesson for all of us who work with people: if your energies go into survival, there is not much left for advancement and growth. A basic lesson in life, not just in loss.

There are many lessons in loss to which we do not take heed, so, we never really learn them. Since I am a big believer that we must learn life's lessons before we can proceed, it is time I start part closer attention.

What loss have you incurred, from which you have not heeded the lesson?

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