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Loss

It’s clear that in this life we will lose things.
It appears to be by design.
We will lose physical strength as we age, no matter how much we exercise. We will lose some bone mass, no matter what supplements we take. We will lose our hair, even if we have some transferred in from parts unknown. We will eventually lose our lives.
Some of us will experience a sort-of extra-curricular loss. We may lose a car, we may lose a bet if we are so foolish as to make them. We may lose a friend to one of the diseases that seems to plague or participate in the human condition. We may lose income. We may lose money to scammers and have to live on less income. We may lose possessions to thieves.
We will invariably lose some arguments, even if we think we didn’t. Let’s hope we don’t lose friends as a result of those arguments.
Despite the fact that we are designed to lose things, it is necessary, and also by design that we must fight not to lose things. We must fight to keep thieves from stealing things. That may mean buying a dog, lamping one’s lawn or business facility better, fencing things in, or providing surveillance systems so that thieves will begin to realize they will be caught and prosecuted.
We must fight to keep our physical flexibility and durability so we can continue to work and be productive for our families. This means watching what we eat, exercising,etc.
We must fight to keep our minds and spirits healthy, so we can continue to do that great thing we were created for.
Nevertheless, the most accomplished leaders of our time and in past times are people who have endured and coped with loss. Without it, they wouldn’t have been the people they became, and became, and became. A simple look at the lives of early American leaders like Jefferson who lost home to fire, and lost family to a variety of causes reveals this. I wonder if he would have become the author of our Declaration of Independence without that loss. Is there any way to calculate and list the loss that Abraham Lincoln experienced in loss of childhood, loss of mother, loss of political races, loss of a unified country, loss of children? I see him bowed over his dying little boy, and wonder if our nation would have been saved without it.
No, we must lose things, and more than things, if we are to be the great people God intended us to be. There’s no other way.
From an American perspective, I see Theodore Roosevelt brandishing sword against personal, physical and political loss, not always able to accept it; similarly, Ronald Reagan lost family, and the guidance of a father, and political battles, and yet he became one of the U.S. leaders of our time with the greatest impact. Bill Clinton suffered similarly in his youth. The loss experienced by several of the Kennedy’s is well-known, and some of the Greatest leaders in our religious worlds, like Pope John Paul II had stories of loss that must be read. They must be thought about.
The list of leaders worldwide who lived through intense and continual loss is more than I can enumerate. The list of shallow leaders who won every political battle and breezed easily through every challenge is equally as long. It’s also scary, because shallow leaders tend not to have the intestinal fortitude necessary in times of great difficulty.
Leadership formed out of pain and loss can be well-comprehended in Moses. His painful and continual loss was invested deeply in a leadership that is probably unrivalled in all-time, even if you don’t believe in the miracles. His separation from family, abnegation of greatness, exile, loss of loved ones, even loss of personal identity was a bleaching storm.
Yet, his death, which had to come, was at the kiss of God’s mouth.
If you are living through loss of possessions, try to place it in perspective. You can get through it and rise above it. If you are losing loved ones, our God will give you strength, though it will invariably seem not to be there at times. You will look back through the haze of a long journey and see that it was there, like a steady light in the fog. If you are losing your own life, trust with prayer. It is by design. You cannot experience the greater design without the loss, and to work through the loss is to know the Designer.

copyright 2009 by Juan Zapatero


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