At one time or another, everyone loses something.
We lose loved ones. We lose our health. We lose our glasses. We lose our memories. We lose our money. We lose our keys. We lose our socks. We lose life itself. We have to come to terms with this reality. Sooner or later, all is lost; we just don’t know when it will happen.
“Loss is a fact of life. Impermanence is everywhere we look. We are all going to suffer our losses. How we deal with these losses is what makes all the difference. For it is not what happens to us that determines our character, our experience, our karma, and our destiny, but how we relate to what happens.” Lama Surya Das
A few years ago I wrote about this topic on a crazy morning when I couldn’t seem to find the most obvious things I needed: keys; gloves; glasses; jacket; my black shoes. And this was all before breakfast. Clearly, I had gone to bed the night before in a frazzled state.
Truth is, what I had misplaced was minor and simply inconvenient compared to the losses of the really tough stuff. But the other truth is when we get better at not losing our cool over these little things we build habits that will serve us well when we are hit with major losses in life.
The reason I was stressed was being in a rush.
And it was also due to not putting those items where they belonged the night before. Once we start rushing and are concerned about being late we get stressed. When we get stressed it is harder to remember. This isn’t just my opinion, rather, it is a well-researched topic in the field of neuroscience and psychology. Dr. Heather Palmer, PhD in Neuropsychology has worked with seniors and with people going through chemotherapy about what she refers to as brain fog.
Brain fog is a type of loss that we all fear, although I notice my grandkids, have no qualms at all about losing gloves, forgetting backpacks etc.
And sometimes we find what we lost
I’m a good finder, as my family will attest because when something goes missing and it is not where it should be, I look in the places where it would ordinarily not be. Plus, I’m persistent. And I am so grateful that my watch, ring, keys, etc have not vanished. I had misplaced them and I have them back.
What a surprise to be found
However, last week I experienced a different kind of finding and losing. I was found, by an old friend, whom I had considered permanently lost. Imagine my surprise, to open an email from my website and learn that it was written by a childhood friend. The dearest of unforgettable friends, who was in my life only from the ages of 11-15. It was an unexpected finding that included a loss that I hadn’t fully realized. (if that makes sense)
I am so often surprised by the beneficence of others. In this case, it was a trail of breadcrumbs involving an obituary sent to X, who when he read it was reminded of my family and went searching. And because of his efforts, he discovered my website and asked his Aunt, if this was “our Trudy Boyle.”
And his Aunt, my old, dear friend, wrote to me. And what was lost was found, after more than 60 years.
I tell you this story because it was such a surprise and so deeply moving for me. And once again, a reminder about taking action. We honestly never know where one curious thought might lead and what delight it may uncover for someone else. So I thank my friend’s dear nephew for taking the trouble to turn over a few stones to see what might turn up.
Human beings need each other. We are wired for connection. And we cannot count on tomorrow. Today, the present moment is the only moment we can confidently act from. Let’s continue to live with our curious, flexible, and loving minds along with our outstretched arms. And perhaps, when you have a sudden thought of someone from your past, you might even follow up on it. These special gifts that arrive “out of the blue,” may seem ordinary and simple. But for meaning-makers like myself, they are treasures.
1:) On the topic of finding, I had another surprise, from long long ago. Last summer, in New Brunswick, my granddaughter overheard me speaking about going to camp in the summer, and for 25 cents I could buy, at the canteen, (after what seemed to be an endless hike) one small bottle of Lime Ricky, one Jersey Milk chocolate bar, and one small bag of chips. The thought of such bounty for one quarter astonished her but it didn’t stop there. Since that conversation, without my knowledge, she was on the hunt for a Lime Ricky, even though I don’t drink any kind of soda pop. To my surprise, she found one and presented me with it on Thanksgiving. (quietly and behind the scene) So, of course, I was going to drink it and share it with her. And with that first sip, a cascade of memories flooded my being of hot, long, and delightful summer days from my childhood.) Thank you, Sophie.
2:) This epic Playing for Change video was the result of two years of work across ten countries. The Weight with Robbie Robinson. It’s possible I posted this link a few years ago but I enjoy it every time I listen.
3:) Thank you for stopping by and reading these musings. I hope you find precious people in your own lives whom you may have lost too. Or they find you. Warmest wishes, Trudy