Twice in the last 24 hours I’ve heard the same accolade given to a man: “He changed my life.”
One was in an episode of “The Good Doctor.” A character, grieving the loss of a coworker, said he had changed her life. Her grieving caused her to see it.
The other was in a devotional. A high school senior gave this praise to a teacher. Many teachers get this opportunity-to change a life.
As you read this, I’m guessing someone in your past comes to mind. A teacher? A coach? An employer? A family member? A pastor? A friend? A coworker?
This person, although living their life with purpose, most likely didn’t look at you and determine, “They need changing. I’m going to change them.” Not that literal. What they most likely did was simply see you. Listen to you. Answer you. Value you. Honor your place in the world. Give you a place in their world. And it was enough to foster change.
May we all see, listen, answer, value, honor, and give enough to foster change. May we all have said of us, “They changed my life.”
Photo by Zazen Koan on Unsplash
Everyone experiences loss; it’s part of life. To live trying to avoid loss is futile, even unrealistic. However, not all losses are the same.
For the purpose of this blog, let’s categorize losses in life under two headings: uncommon and common. Uncommon loss refers to loss that is traumatic, unforeseen, you might even say unnatural. The events of loss in Orlando in the last week are in this category. It’s difficult to imagine being thankful for uncommon types of loss. Common loss, on the other hand, refers to loss that can be expected, foreseen, you might say natural to life. Common losses include financial investments, jobs, relationships for various reasons including death to illness and natural causes. Once you’ve grieved a common loss, it is most definitely possible to be thankful for the loss. How might that look, being thankful for loss?
With a loss comes the opportunity to fill the space vacated. A door is open. A chance for re– to occur (see blog Thankful for Re- 1)
- When a home is lost due to fire, you can be thankful for the chance to rebuild. Ask Job.
- When hope is lost due to a leader leaving, you can be thankful for the chance to rethink the mission. Ask Peter.
- When your whole world seems lost due to God’s judgment for man’s actions, you can be thankful for the chance to rewrite history. Ask Noah.
- When your future plans are lost due to your husband’s death, you can be thankful for the chance to redirect those plans. Ask Ruth.
- When a friendship is lost due to jealousy and mental instability, you can be thankful for the chance to redefine friendship. Ask David.
In your common loss, look for the open door. Look for the re-. Be thankful for the re-.
What common loss have you grieved and can now find the re- to be thankful for? What got you to that place of thankfulness?
Matthew 14 records the death of John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin and forerunner.
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. (Verses 13-14)
- In his grief, Jesus sought solitude. Normal.
- Regardless of his loss, people still were seeking Jesus’ touch. Reality.
- In his grief, Jesus saw the needy crowd with compassion and not with frustration. Supernatural.
- Despite his grief, Jesus chose to heal, to give, to continue, to refocus. Unselfish.
Sometimes the best healer is healing, giving, noticing, and choosing to take your eyes off yourself.
Unselfish sacrifice. Unselfish grieving.