"We are to measure our lives by loss and not by gain, not by the wine drunk but by the wine poured forth, for Love's strength stands in Love's sacrifice, and he who suffers most has most to give."
These words fairly sprang from the page to take hold of my thought life today, and I have been working with them, weighing and measuring, asking...
I suppose in a sense we do measure our lives by losses in the shattering, distracting way that they change us from our foundations and forever. But I don't believe that I have made an intentional practice of turning loss on its ear and seeing the great privilege and blessing there. I have seen it in glimpses, known the truth of it -- in some measure-- but have not firmly attached the challenge and the joy to my heart and life.
But it's true. And I should.
For example, saying farewell to my mother. That loss changed me in elemental ways. My thinking, my perspective, absolutely every aspect of my life was touched in some way (and that is stating it quite ridiculously mildly) by her death.
Having survived it, living joyfully, purposefully in spite of that through God's great power and mercy, I can see and I know what others may not. When I meet someone who has lost his or her mom, I understand. It's not merely an acquaintance with an idea of that loss, I know down to my toes the fullness of the grief that attaches itself to you in that circumstance and will not fade. I cannot know precisely the heart of another, but I have borne that loss and can help bear that burden.
What a joy? What a blessing? Yes and yes.
I would not ask for it. If I should, well, I have to honestly say to this point, I cannot. And I cannot imagine a time that I ever would.
Today, though, I have come awake to the fact that there is a "more" there for me. It will be one of the great works of my life to purpose to see great loss, great challenge, great sacrifice as the gift of having something more to give. I can see these things as a privilege, a part of what the Father gifts to me for others. Whew! That is almost too much to write, much less do! But if only just, I can add this "more" to my list of thankful things. And I can add it to my hopeful things. As I walk with Christ, may He perfect these things in me. May he do what I know beyond knowing that I simply cannot do.
Enough for now ♥
quote from Ugo Bassi, via Elisabeth Elliot