Turn challenge of loss into new opportunities
By RICK ALVEY, Reid Health Chaplain
The loss of a loved one can be one of life's biggest challenges or struggles. But every challenge also brings with it the possibility of new opportunities. Allow me to offer some examples.
The painter Degas suffered
from retina disease for the last fifty years of his life. Because of this loss
he had to switch from using paint to pastel because the chalk lines were easier
for him to see. One result of that change was his now famous painting Blue Dancers.
Renoir had to have brushes placed between his fingers when arthritis made them clench like claws. It was after this that he painted Girls at the Piano.
When cancer surgery left Matisse immobile, he turned to collage, getting assistants to attach colored pieces of paper to a larger sheet fixed on the wall. From this new experience came The Sorrows of the King.
For each of these artists the trials they faced presented a choice; give up on living or look for new opportunities. They chose to keep living and experienced a creative breakthrough which in turn blessed the lives of many people.
Here are more examples. Maya Angelou found her writer's voice by combining her experiences of poverty and racism with her poetic gifts. Her words continue to inspire others.
Joni Eareckson-Tada combined the horrific experience of quadriplegia with a gift of encouragement to start Joni and Friends, an organization that's helped countless people with disabilities all across the world.
After being incarcerated for his part in the Watergate scandal, Chuck Colson used that humbling experience combined with his leadership abilities to start an amazing organization called Prison Fellowship, which has changed the lives of inmates and their families everywhere.
You had no choice in the matter of losing a loved one but you do have a choice about what you will do with the rest of your life beginning today. What has this experience meant to you? What heavy pain have you faced? What deep difficulty?
- Questions raised in you
- Lessons you've learned from it
- The empathy its birthed in you for others facing a similar loss
- Meeting new groups of people you otherwise would have never met
Take all of this and look
for new opportunities to be a source of encouragement or inspiration to others.
Someone needs what only you can give.