“My friend, be not like him who sits by his fireside and watches the fire go out, then blows vainly upon the dead ashes. Do not give up hope or yield to despair because of that which is past, for to bewail the irretrievable is the worst of human frailties.” ~ Khalil Gibran, The Treasured Writings of Kahlil Gibran …
It is easy to focus on the things we have lost–to sit back as spectators and observe with sadness and remorse the dead ashes of the fires that have gone out. After all, their absence leaves a void in our lives and often causes us much grief, stress, suffering, and misery. But this is a fool’s strategy, for doing so does nothing to avoid or prevent the loss in the first place, or to ensure that we set other plans in motion to compensate for whatever it is we are losing. If the fire is going out, there is no point in sitting idly by–we all have the option to get up and stoke the fire, or better yet, to add a little fuel to it before it starts to go out.
Life is not going to be easy by no means. We will lose things such as jobs, money, and material possessions, and relationships will fail or drift apart. We will be faced with difficult decisions and will most likely fall a number of times along the way. We may even lose hope or our peace within our hearts. And yet this is all okay, for everything is not lost. It may not be pleasant, but it certainly does not have to be a permanent fixture in our lives that diminishes our present and future experiences.
Loss is a natural part of life–there is no use in placing blame, finding fault, or living in the past. As a child, I have been told that “there is no use crying over spilt milk; you must simply wipe it up and pour yourself a new glass.” And throughout the course of our lives, each of us has lost some very significant things along the way–loved ones who have passed on, things that have left our possession as a result of financial issues, careers and jobs that have failed, health that has diminished, and so much more. Yet each thing that is lost was once a gift to us, and it is important to remember this truth. For nothing is forever, not even the mountains or the oceans that seem like they will never change, and knowing and understanding that things are temporary and will someday pass allows us to deal with the loss in healthier ways when they do.
As we sit by the fireside, we can be fully aware of the way things are playing out and do our best to compensate for them. And when things happen, through acceptance, we can turn out attention to moving on. We cannot control what happens to us in life, but we can control how we deal with it.
Seek acceptance in your losses and find healthy ways of moving forward.
Questions to consider:
What purpose can we possibly serve by staying focused on things that we can never get back?
How might we help ourselves to stay focused on shifting our attention from that which we have lost to planning for improvement and change?
What happens to us when we give up hope because of something that we’ve lost instead of keeping our minds on what we still have?
For further thought:
“The worst thing in your life may contain seeds of the best. When you can see crisis as an opportunity, your life becomes not easier, but more satisfying.” ~ Joe Kogel, A Matter of Life and Depth