I’ve spent too much time wanting what was taken from me to appreciate what I was given.
Prince Caspian, Chronicles of Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The holidays for most of us have become a time of reflection. We look back on our lives and remember (usually with fondness) the earlier years. Those memories, more often than not, are filled with people rather than things. And as those we love move on from our lives, it is often the holidays, year after year, that brings those memories rushing back.
This year I have watched the Christmas memories flow on Facebook. Friends have reflected on the loss of a family member, or missing friends and familiar traditions because of a move or relocation. Even our own family members who, with both with joy and sorrow, returned foster children to their mother after caring for them for several years.
The pain of letting go of loved ones God has given us and taken away can, at times, seem all-consuming in our lives.
As Prince Caspian reaches the end of his journey in the movie, it has been a long quest in search of his father, who he believes may still be alive. His life has become so obsessed with finding out what has happened to him that he considers ending his own life if it will give him the answer. It is at this point where he realizes that his obsession with finding (and making peace with) his father has overtaken his life focus. As a result, he is missing the opportunities that he has been given. As the new King of Narnia, he now has the opportunity to make a difference as a leader of the kingdom, however he must first move past the loss that is consuming his life.
But real-life transitions are not as easy as quoting a great movie line. They take time and work, but hopefully result in life change and growth.
In his book Gracenomics: Unleashing the Power of Second Chance Living, Mike Foster talks about the challenges of moving forward after a traumatic, life changing event. In Chapter 2 of this book he talks about the recovery process and the importance of remembering and encouraging others in their strength.
Experts claim that it is possible for a tragic event to strike us over and over again over the course of our lives. Meaning that tragedy impacts us once [at the moment when it happens] and again each time we stew on it, analyze it, or talk about it with others. Giving so much air time to our worst moments can actually impede the healing process.
Foster continues on to cite studies that illustrate: “it is not compassion that inspired them to recover, but rather being told they were strong.”
If we are honest with ourselves, we would see the ongoing injustice and oppression doesn’t lie within the event, but in the belief that we are powerless to move on.
Good and challenging stuff.
Challenging in the sense that I believe that moving on is exactly what God wants us to do. It may not be easy, but it is an incredible opportunity for us to grow to a new dependence on Him. If we can bring ourselves to see that in “taking from us,” He is actually trying to give us so much more. If we will only allow ourselves to look around and appreciate what we’ve been given.