Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.
– Norman Cousins
The greatest loss for me is a loss of communication with God. I wonder if that qualifies as something that dies inside me while I live? I suppose it could, if something were to happen that tragically and permanently altered my view of God. It would have to be something really bad and as I don’t want to speak it into existence (yes, I believe you can talk about something often enough that it comes to pass – call it leftover magical thinking from a tragic childhood, but there it is), I will let that train of thought go.
But what other things could die inside me while I live? Love of a parent or child (if I had any), perhaps. But, again, for me to stop loving my mom, well, I don’t believe that could ever happen. But I stopped loving my father many years ago. The only thing I have for him is apathy, a smidgen of sorrow for the father I never had, and some deeply buried anger and anxiety that I have yet to fully confront.
Perhaps the sorrow is what Mr. Cousins is referring to. The love I had for my father died when I was young. It was replaced by fear, anger, loathing and resentment. But it is the sorrow, the loss I experienced that is my focus here. That loss of love, that death of fatherly love, impacted my life in so many ways, not the least of which my feelings toward God.
The loss of fatherly love severely skewed my view of God – it has taken many, many years to recover my love for Father God – twice as many years as I lived with my father.
But it also permanently skewed my feelings toward the human male. I will never marry or have an intimate relationship with a man because of my father. The damage he inflicted on me is too deep to heal in this lifetime. In many ways I am okay with this; I have come to terms with it after a long struggle of blaming God for my fate. But I wonder if I have grieved the loss?
It is tragic that I will never know (because I don’t want to know) the intimate love of a man and even as I write this I am feeling a deep loss and sorrow and the beginnings of tears. The greatest loss is what dies while you live. I am living proof of that. But God’s Promise is that I am able to recover from that loss, if I am willing to do the work. And whether I am willing to do it remains to be seen.