My childhood home was sold this month. Sadly, the house is now empty and ready to be torn down. I will miss it.
But as Goethe reveals, “Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.” What are our choices for reconciling ourselves to change or loss? How do we cope with it?
We may want to avoid or deny the situation. Or, we may take time to linger over photos and save artifacts to retain our fond memories and to memorialize the past. We may decide to move on and take the time to create new meaning and memories for our self and our family. We may get angry at the change and agonize over the loss. Or, to accept the finality of the loss we reconcile ourselves to the unavoidable fact that this segment in our life is over. So, to return to the question of what our choices are, the answer is, it’s probably experiencing a bit of all those feelings that help us to reconcile a change or a loss.
Change or loss is ever-present in our lives. We continually face uncertainty, surprises, and transitions, with either positive or negative outcomes. We get older, a child is born, people get sick, injured, or even die. Summer vacations end, the new school year begins, friends move away, a new love is found, games are lost, and the list goes on. Change or loss can trigger any number of feelings; happy, sad, delight, resistance or grasping. Life is a dance of sensations and we have to follow the rhythms of our hearts.
Understanding that change is inevitable helps us to let go of our expectations so that we can accept things as they are. When we cling to the past, we fail to recognize “life belongs to the living.” To live is to evolve and progress — to change — not to continually return to what used to be. We must find meaning and appreciation in our new moments and reconcile the changes and losses we experience. As we reconcile changes and loss, the old merges with the new and we find a renewed sense of energy and confidence in the beauty of our lives.