Yesterday’s Lenten message was late in arriving. Thunderstorms and Saturday mornings are both valid reasons. The third reason need not be said. Walter’s, Will’s, Jake’s and my beloved Razorbacks lost in the “Big Dance.”
Only one team can eventually win it all and there was no realistic chance that the Hogs could have won it all, but it is still a loss and it hurts. I have written before about sports and what is that makes us loyal to a team or a school. Today I want us all to think about the positive side of loss. That’s right Hog fans — the positive side of loss.
Luis started me thinking about this concept several years ago. I was so captured by what he had to say I made notes about his sermon and still keep them in my personal journal. To summarize only a part, he said there must have been a presence for their to be an absence or a loss.
In Lent, we sense the negative presence of our bad habits as we try to shed them for forty days. Yet their absence is felt because they were a presence. We usually feel that there is no greater loss than a loved one who has died and entered God’s kingdom. That loss is so huge and our suffering so great because that person was so much of a presence in our lives. Usually the deeper the feeling of loss is proportional to of the strength of their presence, or a presence cut short. Yet the pain of that loss is eased by our memories of their presence.
The positive aspect of loss? As we mature, we learn that people come and go. Sometimes their absence is caused by distance or events beyond either’s control. Reunions are great for bringing back the presence of those who had touched our lives a long time ago. Other times, the absence is caused by something more painful? A betrayal, the wrong thing said or done, someone or something steps in between a wonderful presence, and we are left, it seems, only with a painful loss.
It is here that we have an opportunity. An opportunity to change our focus from the cause of the loss, and focus on the past presence. It works either way. If the presence was a positive event than we overcome the pain of the loss by focusing on the joy of the presence. It the presence was a negative in our lives, than we celebrate the loss.
Lent can be used as a time to search for the positive aspect of our feelings of loss. There have been friends in my life who were a powerful presence. People to this day want me to focus on the loss. I choose to remember their presence.