Love and Loss

Have you lost someone?

Love is a beautiful and wonderful gift from God.  But we live in a broken world, and that means we are bound to feel the loss of people and relationships we care about.  The truth is, we all have or will lose people we love.  Whether a life ends, or just a relationship, loss is a very real part of experiencing love.

My friend had a miscarriage this week.  She told me that it was so early in the pregnancy (only about 8 weeks), that she hadn’t really had much chance to wrap her head around being pregnant, let alone bond with the baby she was carrying.  Nevertheless, the loss was searing.  She said it wasn’t so much about the present loss as it was about the loss of a shared future with a little life that now she’ll never know.

Her feeling reminds me of losing my Mom earlier this year.  Unlike my friend, I had a lifetime to know and bond with my Mom.  Even so, the real sting of losing Mom was in the loss of future time together.  I’ll have to wait for heaven to have a hug and a good laugh with Mom again.

My heart aches for my friend and her husband.  I know the pain they feel and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  Yet I’m also thankful for the way God works in loss.  It has a way of grounding us.  Loss reminds us that life here on earth is temporal.  It illuminates sharply the many blessings in our lives, while focusing us in on what is truly important.

Have you heard the hymn, It Is Well?  It’s one of my favorites, and it was written by a man in the midst of great grief.   At the beginning of the year 1873, Mr. Horatio Gates Spafford was a successful Chicago lawyer with a loving wife and four young daughters.  All four daughters were lost at sea when an ocean liner they were traveling on sank in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.  His wife was miraculously saved, and as he traveled across the ocean himself to join her in Europe, he wrote, It Is Well.  Knowing the history makes the words so much more poignant for me:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Loss can be a terrible, painful thing, but love without loss has no depth.  Loss enriches our lives and focuses our minds on the eternal.