There is something about experiencing loss that causes people to reflect on life and to focus on what’s most important.
Over the past year, I have experienced myself and along with others more loss than I care to really think about – from very young to very old and ages in between. Two individuals I used to work with at my previous job have passed away – one from suicide and one from alcoholism. Grandparents have passed away from cancer, including both my grandpas and now a dear friend’s grandma. Husband’s grandpa isn’t far behind. I have lived a bit of a coworker’s nightmare – a family member’s loss of their very young, precious son. We have also heard of the very unexpected loss of a family member’s husband at age 30. The same age as husband now. These and more over the past year.
Of course, these all have the devastation of losing someone close in common, though experienced in different ways – some deaths expected, some not at all. Some have spent months hoping against hope for a miracle, others waiting months for the inevitable to happen. Invariably, people begin to think about what is important. What really matters anymore? What am I doing with my life that means anything? What could or should I change so I know I’m doing something important and worthwhile?
I have found an additional challenge in waiting for a baby to come. I am expecting life while others are losing it. How do I continue to be joyful about our blessing of a currently healthy little one, knowing that others struggle and wait and pray for the same thing? How do I avoid feeling guilty of our ability to conceive and have so easily? How do I continue to enjoy this and not project feelings onto others, laying on myself the feelings I would expect to have in a different situation?
I also find that I am continuing to question where I am and what I am doing with my career. What am I doing that is important? How am I making a difference? How is it possible to make a difference when we are so small and so limited? How do we make a difference despite our glaring weaknesses? How to we continue to function amid such chaos? How do I continue to find contentment in what I’m doing? And if I really am being called to another place, where is it and what is it? How do I discern that? How do I know that it’s not just my brain playing up the fantasy of being somewhere else, doing something “more meaningful?”
All of this contemplation makes me so tired. Intellectually, physically, emotionally – I’m just wiped. I feel like I don’t have anything to give any more. I’m reaching so far into my own mind to sort through these thoughts and questions that it’s hard to pull myself out and be in the real world with real people. To be in the moment.
So what is important? And what really isn’t?