Monday, April 2, 2012

Losing Everything Except Yourself

by Janielle Beh on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 8:01am

I recently had a very meaningful conversation with a musician friend who had lost her violin and all her belongings - wallet, phone and the lot, while travelling. I asked her what it felt like suddenly having nothing and no one to help her in a foreign place.

She told me with great insight that it was a wake up call. Without lamenting her loss or blaming the cosmos for the trouble this incident cost her, she told me with utter sincerity that she actually thanked God that this seemingly terrible thing happened to her. Between the time she lost everything she had on her, and not to mention her lifeline - her violin - and the time she managed to find her way back to reality and get things sorted, she learned a significant life lesson.

It was that her identity, her person, her being, did not consist in the abundance of her possessions or her achievements. What a great lesson we all should learn! When all that is stripped from each of us, what do we have left? Can we still say that we are who we are, authentic, genuine, real, and fully alive? Or do we become empty shells, devoid of purpose, suddenly disorientated and losing the sense of ourselves?

It is a scary thing. I greatly salute my dear friend for looking at the situation in light of eternity and not the temporary. Losing everything and feeling that sense of lostness in a foreign place can break anyone. But instead of letting something like that break you, allow it to make you stronger.

For me, the core of my existence is my faith, my hope. Sometimes I wonder, if God were to give me a wake up call like that, if he were to graciously take away my achievements, my music, and break my pride, for my own good, how would I react? Would I curse God for such undeserved 'misfortune'? Would I give up and lose faith? Would I suddenly lose my identity and the thing that makes me, me?

Or would I feel a sweet liberation, that my life actually does not consist in what I HAVE or what I have done? In such a time, will I be able to say that there is still thankfulness in my heart? Would I be able to say, 'Wow, I actually don't really ultimately need all these things, I only need the Source of my life - my faith, my God'? And that that is truly, fully, wholly enough for me?

Who are you without your things, your successes, your trophies, your achievements, your money, your abilities? It is a terrifying question. But it is one we must ask ourselves. Because one day, when all this is taken away for a moment, will it break us or make stronger?

No comments:

The Visitors