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Monday, January 11, 2016

How Grief and Death Bring Life and Sustained Happiness

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way that I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked.”
 Oliver Burkeman, The Antidote.
When nothing can be taken away, then we have nothing to lose, and when we have nothing to lose there is then no impediment to joy.
Loss teaches us this.  Once we have lost something significant or someone significant, the rest of our lives change.  We live in this kind of coarse reality knowing that death comes any time it chooses.  Yet that which should freak us out or make us morbid actually inspires us to use our time to the best of our opportunity and imagination.
Truly, I become alive after I died.  Such a gospel principle — the resurrection of a dead and entombed Saviour — who rose on that Third Day — who defeated death and brought life to an impossibility — Jesus shows us how we live post-resurrection.
But we can only live a life raised in joy if we have first died and been buried to bondage.
The day my life transformed, my life transformed every successive day.  The journey into the wasteland of loss was not the forlorn waste of time and reality of hopelessness it seemed.  It turned out to be the greatest blessing.
Faith indicates what should have killed us but didn’t only made us more apt for the fight.
Only since I was broken in loss over twelve years ago now was I exposed to the greatest secret my life could ever have known.  Having that old life torched meant I would never any longer care about my life as far as what I could lose was concerned.
That moment I lost it all, everything of value came immediately into my grasp.  At the same time as my flesh burned wretchedly with grief, the spirit within my soul flew with newborn wings of such capacity I had no need of looking back.  And I no longer needed the fearful dependencies I’d nurtured in that old life.  Yet I was still ever the same person.
Grief is a death; the end of a relationship, a dream, a reality intrinsically valued.
The fact that we can experience the death of hope, and find the happiness of contentment in that, is saliently remarkable.
But it only works if we genuinely let go — we must lose our lives to save them.
So the key lesson of loss is it gets us to approach what death is like, and, provided we bear the pain as best we can, at the time, such a death proves a blessing, not a curse.
Grief is an opportunity; invest in the reality of its pain, and it teaches us invaluable lessons about true strength and joy.
Grief teaches us we really have nothing to lose.  What seems a curse is actually the greatest blessing.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.

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