Take One Single Step

836. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I am thinking today about loss. Every path taken leaves a life path unexplored and therefore unknown. Sometimes that feels like loss. Sometimes it feels like extraordinary loss. Sometimes the grief of the loss is crushing and it reduces you to nothing. And, it is from nothing that the new has space to take shape and grow. It’s a cliché until you live it.

A simple dip into the thesaurus gives me four options: Damage. Defeat. Bereavement. Deficit. The dictionary tells me that loss is a fact: the fact of no longer having something. I think the dictionary is wrong because it assumes possession. It assumes that the loss is a “thing.” Loss, real loss, has nothing to do with possession.

A year ago I sat on a lakeside beach in New Hampshire. I was alone and had a troubled heart because I did not want to do the thing that I knew I needed to do. I did not want to start walking the path of loss. Donna emerged from the woods and sat beside me. She is wise and somehow knew what I was struggling with. She helped me see that my reticence was about the hurt that my choice would bring to others. She helped me see that the hurt was necessary and would begin a path of growth for all involved. When I left the beach that day I knew what I had to do and although it took a few more months to work up my courage, I did it. And the trail of loss began. The trail of growth began.

Little did I know that the trail would take me to a loss at the far end that would be greater – exponentially greater – than the loss that began on the shores of the lake in New Hampshire. Along the way, each successive loss has been like a layer falling off, like the rings of a tree dropping away until only the core remains. This last and greatest loss-layer has brought me to a core. My core. There is no more armor, no more deflection, no more pretense, no more masking, no more illusion. There is only this raw exposed core and an intense amount of gratitude for the first step, for Donna coming out of the woods and all the guides and friends that appeared along the way, and mostly for the clay that for a brief and special time formed a container for heat, healing, exploration, laughter, and a desire to learn to pray. It is in that desire that a new step beckons. It is a call that requires one single step out of this loss and into the space that the new has space to take shape and grow.

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