Loss by Robynn
Last Sunday I attended a seminar on loss.
Once again I realized how thoroughly marked by loss my story is.
During the session we were brain storming categories of loss and specific examples of loss. The object of the activity was to get people thinking through their own losses. At one point I contributed, “When a person who’s grown up overseas returns to their passport country there’s loss: Loss of culture, of community, of language, of place, loss of family, and friends, loss of pets, loss of parents….” The moderator nodded and wrote on the white board, “Loss of Culture” . That was it.
But that’s not it!
It’s overwhelming to begin to identify all the losses the Third Culture Kid experiences. It’s too much. If we begin to unravel our stories the grief will choke us. There’s been too much loss. Too many goodbyes. Too many metaphoric deaths. Too many figurative funerals.
We grew up with the loss of our extended families. Grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins were said goodbye to as we boarded large airplanes destined for foreign places. We didn’t grow up hearing the family folklore. Later coming back to these circles we often felt foreign and slightly estranged.
Boarding school routines put us on a cycle of loss. We went off to school and there was the loss of our parents, our security, our homes. We left for home and there was the loss of routine, of friends, of teachers. We went off to school and there was the loss of parents, our security, our homes. We left for home and there was the loss of…. And on and on it went. We were forever saying goodbye. We were forever grieving. And when we weren’t actively doing so we had it in the backs of our souls that the countdown was ticking down. 3 more weeks and we’d have to say goodbye. 2 more weeks and we’d be leaving. 1 more week and it the pain would be unbearable. The dread of goodbye was nearly as palatable as the goodbye itself.
People were always leaving too, departing, disappearing. Families would go home on furlough. Boarding parents would come and go. Friends would say goodbye. High school graduates would leave.
All of it should have readied us for the bigger loss that was yet to come. But how could we be prepared for the layers and layers of loss that would leave us raw and broken when it came our turn to leave. When we ourselves left and landed in a country that was supposed to be “home” but felt so completely foreign. We lost ourselves.
But it’s too big of a topic for a seminar. You can’t write it all down on the white board. It’s too much to contain in the confines of a blog or an article.
This has been a week of loss of hundreds of people around the globe. Earthquake victims have suffered the loss of their homes. Villagers in Iraq have endured the loss of their loved ones. Runners and bystanders have lost limbs and lives in Boston. An entire town in Texas is reeling from an explosion that took at least 5 lives and injured 160 more. There’s no standard of measurement for loss, no measuring stick, no system of weights and scales. Who’s to say who hurts more, who has suffered the most? Thousands of people are grieving loss just now.
You can’t write it all down. It’s too much to capture on a keyboard. It’s still too raw, too deep.
As those who have suffered repeated loss, we are equipped to bring the grieving thousands to Jesus. Years ago four friends loaded up their friend on a bed and they carried him to Jesus. The crowds couldn’t deter them. They climbed on top of the roof and they persistently dug a hole through the rafters—a spontaneous skylight!—and they lowered their friend down through the chaos and the crowds and the clammer. They brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus. The four understood paralysis of one kind or another and they knew there was hope and healing in one place, one person. That person was Jesus.
Today I load up the thousands on to the mat of my intercession, and I limp along to that One Person. I lay them, the grieving, the traumatized, the displaced, the misplaced, and the wounded gently down at his feet. He is their only hope. He remains their only haven of healing. And nothing can separate them from that.