Loss demands attention. Just yesterday I was busy making fajitas in the kitchen and listening to Christmas music when the strong arm of loss pinned me to the wall. Tears came unbidden, mixed with anger over what was. What had been whimsical holiday carols turned to mourning. The faces wouldn’t leave—little ones harmed, older ones trafficked, and all of us broken in this outside of Eden world in which we live. But a door appeared. A doorway of remembrance.
I remembered Rahel, Harag, and Meskerem. These glorious women, once prostituted in a foreign country, now dance with their Creator. Loss? Yes. Life? Also, yes. Rahel taught our children the rhythms of African drumbeats on a paint can in our back yard. Harag’s smile and passion for other women suffering abuses of the sex trade filled me with humility and fond memories. I then remembered speaking to a group gathered at Meskerem’s house before I left Africa. Rain tapped its song on the aluminum roof, and by candlelight I spoke of my heart for our Savior-the Light of the World. What a night.
Although I left Africa-a loss indeed, that place of community, spice, and warm embrace never left me. I boarded an airplane bound for Tennessee because I was pregnant with twins. Suddenly, loss is filled with newness and life.
Things are never the same after a loss. Don’t let anyone convince you that one day you will “get over it” and settle back into whatever status quo existed before. Loss, simply labeled, is the death of normal. How grateful I am that there can, however, be a new normal filled with light and hope.
The new normal might also be hard to maneuver. When we abandon ourselves to beauty and lose all thought of loss, the slightest scent, sound, or word, can send us spiraling into the valley of the shadow of death. Thus, we find ourselves holding back. To live with abandon is to risk the doorway to loss. The two are partners in this world. Loss will find us. Let’s live anyway.