Loss

” . . . still bear fruit in old age . . . “


“The righteous will flourish like palm trees; they will grow like the cedars of Lebanon.  They are like trees planted in the house of the Lord, that flourish in the Temple of our God, that still bear fruit in old age and are always green and strong.”  (Psalm 92:12-14)

This morning as I was walking up the sidewalk to the church door, I noticed the remains of these rhododendron blossoms.  All that remains are the frameworks that once held the beautiful petals.  As spring marched on the petals dropped to the ground and were lost to the mulch beneath the bush.  Since Memorial Day is within a few days, the bush started me wondering about loss.

There’s probably few things we seek to avoid more than loss, and yet loss is the most inevitable thing we will ever experience.   (I just had a vision of a hamster stuck on a wheel of denial, trying to run away like crazy but with no success.)  On Memorial Day each year we pause to remember loved ones we’ve lost.  We remember with joy the great times we shared together, and also feel the twinge of sadness that reminds us of their absence.  As we grow older we experience not just the loss of those we’ve held dear, but also an even more personal loss – the awareness of how we’ve changed and might not be able to do things we once could.  Let’s face it, life is tricky.  We grow up learning more and more, moving more and more, and experiencing more and more.  Life seems like an upward climb with a sense of limitless possibilities.  Then, at some point, we sort of top the hill and start down the other side.  With each passing day we realize more of our physical and other limitations.  Wow, what a surprise!  Even though we know it’s coming, there’s still a strange sense of disbelief about it.  I guess the awareness of our limitations and the knowledge of our ultimate limit (our physical death) is what causes us to start making “bucket lists.”

The trick to healthy living is to not get stuck in our losses.  Often that’s easier said than done, but still vitally important.  I think that’s why things like “bucket lists” are so important.  They keep us forward focused, and remind us that every day is a gift from God to be celebrated somehow, somewhere, with someone.  We might not be able to avoid the inevitable losses, but we can enjoy the ride and be fruitful along the way.  Each and every day is an important gift from God.  Find someway to celebrate it with someone.  (And oh, by the way, there are also things we can do and think on the down side of the hill that might not have been possible on the up side.  Keep a look-out for those as well!)

I pray that God will keep me busy making lots of bucket lists.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,

Gary

Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24

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~ by revgenelson on May 24, 2017.

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