But it can also refer to the loss of a job that has been providing proof of our worth and a financial foundation that feels safe. Or it can be the loss of health or life for a family member. It takes such a small mistake--a moment of inattention behind the wheel, a distracted moment's fall doing life-changing damage, a diagnosis bringing shattering news that changes everyday thereafter. Sudden, fatal illnesses have a different rhythm than prolonged fatal illnesses, but the sudden change is still part of the experience.
It absolutely feels like that earth has changed when our perceived reality is gone in a phone call, a test result, a lay-off notice, a missed stop sign, a moment of anger. It is all consuming if it is our own illness or injury that is the outcome, but is not much less consuming if it is a child, a parent, a spouse, a beloved friend who is injured or dies.
We long to be safe, to keep those we love safe, but there is no body that can not be broken, invaded, maimed or die. It seems that if we think about that for very long it would drive us mad and make every relationship impossible because the potential for loss is so great.
When I think of all the women in prior generations who had cemetery plots filled with their losses it makes my very existence feel like a miracle. How could they go on in the face of loss upon loss? Whether there were miscarriages or wars or farm and road accidents these women most frequently chose to move forward, sometimes for the sake of their children and others they loved, but also because they found their way through.
I am so blessed because in my family much of that capacity to move ahead through sorrow, fear and loss was built on faith and deepening relationships with God. They did not, for the most part, teach bitterness and resentment, but rather courage and hope. When that was not possible I suspect they knew comfort and the capacity to endure since many who knew great challenges survived to advanced ages.
This verse has showered special hope for me during times of challenge. If this is such a time for you, I hope you will consider what it might say to you today: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Psalm 46:1-3