In his book “The Four Loves”, C. S. Lewis says “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” To really understand what Lewis meant, we have to split a few hairs.
Lewis was actually paraphrasing the writings of Saint Augustine. The good saint was desolate over the death of a friend. He lamented that one should give his heart only to God since all humans will die.
Lewis disagreed. He didn’t believe that our love should be reserved exclusively for God and in hopes of avoiding pain.
But Lewis did say that Saint Augustine’s position made “excellent sense” when applied to material things like “goods” and “a home.”
Loss is something we experience almost every day but usually in ways that are more frustrating than painful.
My husband looses his wallet several times a year. He misplaces his phone several times a month. And don’t get me started about his car keys – that’s a weekly occurrence.
Now that would drive me crazy but my husband takes it in stride. He rarely gets frustrated or angry with himself. He just accepts the current state of things and sets about asking everyone he sees if they have his car keys. He has definitely taken the words of Lewis to heart. His happiness is never related to losing stuff.
I once read that every time we lose something regardless of its importance, we go through a cycle of grief. We experience denial, anger, depression, bargaining and eventually, acceptance. The cycle is always present but the intensity and duration of our pain is entirely dependent on the gravity of our loss.
Many years ago, I lost my home in the midst of a divorce. I quickly learned that the loss of a house did not compare to the loss of a partnership and a future imagined. After a long cycle of grief, I realized that loss is inevitable and so is the unhappiness it brings.
But that does not mean our losses have to be long-term joy breakers. They are just one of many cycles in life.
When that difficult cycle had completed its rotation in my life, the wheels of joy turned again in my favor. And when you experience loss, they’ll one day turn again in your favor, too.
Until next week, I hope your life is full of joy and gratitude even in the midst of loss,
Linda Sterling Sease is a professional speaker, career coach & writer on the power of joy to transform companies, homes and communities. To explore how Linda can work with your organization, call 303-319-5829 or email her at Linda at SterlingSease.com.