October 2010 - Posts - Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller
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Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller

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October 2010 - Posts

  • Losing everything and gaining a new perspective

    It's actually become comical when I think about some things that have happened in life the last few years. It may not seem to be if I were to list off ‘what all we've lost.'  When I focus on the things lost, it actually isn't very funny, but losing everything, and I do mean THINGS, has helped me and our entire family gain a new perspective on life.

    Does this new perspective make me any 'better' than someone who has not gone through such material and stability loss? No. It does however offer a slightly different view than someone who has not experienced this type of loss.

    Losing a loved one is earth shattering enough, but if 'life' remained normal around someone once the loved one moved on, then there is still a sense of semi-normalcy or at least the surroundings and trappings and routines stay the same. The whole or gap left by the loved one's departure does affect all of life, but the framework is still intact. I won't discount the difficulty of this loss. I have been there and experienced losing a parent suddenly.

    But the loss of income, in mid-life, tends to have a rippling effect like no other that not only effects daily life, but affects the lives of your loved ones and your stability of what life used to be. Loss of income affects payments on mortgages, cars, college plans for your children and many more 'things' in life. With all of those gone and losing everything, a new perspective eventually emerges...after the textbook 'grieving' process of: denial, anger, and sorrow give way to healing.

    Just like with a loved one’s passing, time passes, but losing an income can and often does lead to losing everyTHING eventually. So what can be taken away from the events of life after losing everything? The perspective that things are just things.

    Think about it. Is the 'thing' what is precious to you or the memory of people who gave it to you or were with you when you acquired it or the relationship with the people who enjoyed it with you? If I take the time to dig to the root of why a 'thing' is precious to me, it is always because of someone I love, not the thing I love.

    The home we lost was precious due to the children's height marked on the door post for years. The memories of the littlest one putting herself to bed (and not making it to her room, but falling asleep at the top of the stairs so we could carry her).  The middle one holding her arm out to the side for hours to try to catch a bird (that she wanted to land on it) while we all worked in the garden. Our oldest, our only son, going across the loft each night to kiss his sisters good night and pray with them. The smells and sounds of food being prepared for a family that enjoys each other’s company within a home that we will never be able to replaced.

    But...

    The new perspective arises. Today, in the small house we are temporarily in, with stuff that is not ours nor was around when our kids were growing up surrounding us...we await our son and his new wife to come for the weekend. I will get out the pizza tins I used for so many years of them growing up and that is about all we have of 'things' ...but we will remember 24 years of Friday nights with him (and his sisters) and how we cherish the TIME we've spent together not the things that surrounded us.

    If I can encourage anyone who has lost it all....you will gain the world if you can gain this perspective....and nothing can take it from you but your own focus!

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