Starting the New Year With a Limp

In some ways 2014 was a year of loss.

I was still grieving the passing of my dad to cancer in 2013 when we lost my brother in July of 2014 to an unexpected tragedy. I lost my baby girl to Nashville—she heard the sound of music and opportunity call her name, and left home to follow it, hundreds of miles away. I watched as some of my dearest friends mourned the loss of a beloved mother, a wife of twenty years, a career they’d had for decades.

Loss changes you. You have to adjust to being a different ‘you’. A broken you. A you that’s missing a limb. A you that’s wrestled with God and now has a permanent limp.  A you that had the rug pulled out from under you, that free-fell backwards with no one to catch you.

Maybe, like me, you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, relationship, or dream. But you’ve also been grieving the loss of who you were when that loved one, relationship or dream was alive. The end of it feels like the end of you. You can’t seem to care like you used to. Laugh like you used to. And God knows, trust like you used to.

But your heart still pumps blood through your veins, you still take air into your lungs. And you don’t know it yet but pain is doing a work in you that only it can do. Because in order to fully embrace the fragile, tenuous beauty of the present you have to fully experience the agonizing loss of what once was and is now gone. I believe all that is tender and precious in this life becomes more so as we recognize how easily it slips through our hands.

You’re still here. And what remains is a you that has less to lose and more to give. A you that is more finely-tuned  to others’ suffering. A you that persists like a flickering flame in a windstorm in spite of every reason not to. A you that knows how to lean in hard to the faith you claim. A you that has a deeper capacity to suffer, and so to love.

Here’s to starting the New Year with a limp. Here’s to a new you.