Loss and Life
There is something to be said for losing everything. That's not to say it's fun. That's not to say I recommend it. But what I will say is, like everything else in life, there is much to be learned from no longer having resources which are easily accessed and dispensed.
For many years of my life I did not lack for anything. There was always an abundance of food in the cupboards. There was always a car or two or three or four in the driveway. There were always more clothes than my closet could hold. There was always a house to live in. There were things to do, places to go, and people to see. My life was busy and full of things. And when I would see or hear about somebody who didn't have many things, I would feel sorry for him or her, and say a prayer for them - and sometimes even throw a buck or two their way.
I used to tell myself and others that I would be fine without the things I had, that they were blessings and I appreciated them, but if I lost them I would still be okay. But to be honest, in a deeper part of me, I would pray that I would never have to actually find out if I would truly be okay - because I enjoyed having my things. The reality was, I could not imagine my life without conveniences and possessions.
Then, in a matter of literally a few weeks, I lost pretty much everything. I fled from my home taking my car, a few clothes in a suitcase, and my daughter. We were homeless for nine months, and, at first, I discovered I really wasn't okay. I quickly had to learn how to ask for, and accept, help from other people who were sometimes nice and sometimes not. That humiliated me. I had to watch my spending closely - and make judgments about whether I should purchase gas so I could get to work, or food so we could eat. Or maybe purchase food for my daughter and a little gas.
I had to work with the few outfits I had with me, and creatively sort them and change them around so it looked like I was wearing different clothes every day when I went to work. I slept on couches, and tried to make myself invisible as we imposed on friends to take us in, and give us a place to stay. For the first time in my life, bad tires on my car appeared to be an insurmountable obstacle - and I learned you could purchase them used.
It was challenging, scary, and depressing. But at the same time, it was enlightening, empowering and freeing. I learned I could make decisions in spite of enormous mental pressure. I learned I didn't need a closet full of clothes. I learned it is much easier to live a life free of the responsibilities that come with too many possessions, commitments and things. I learned even though I could not imagine a day would come when I would be thankful for all my losses, the day did come and I can give thanks.
I learned it is okay to need other people. I learned that truly the darkest time of day comes right before the dawn, and that applies to life as well as time. I learned that I am a far stronger woman than I ever gave myself credit for. I learned that the things that scared me most were things I could conquer. I learned how important it is not to judge others for their situations, and that simply throwing money at a person who is hurting and in need is, quite frequently, not the thing they need the most.
Losing everything is not an experience I would wish on anyone, but I don't regret that it happened to me.
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