Loss and Love

I was listening to one of Tara Brach’s old podcasts the other day and in it, she recounted a story of Kafka (yup, the writer) and a little girl, whom he met in a park, crying over her lost doll. As the story goes, he offered to help her look and came to her the next day with a letter he had composed from the doll, telling the little girl not to mourn – that the doll had merely gone on a trip and would write frequently. This started a whole series of letters from the doll to her girl, and at the end, Kafka presented the girl with a new doll (it didn’t look anything like the old one, but we all know that “travel changes us”). Years afterwards, the girl found a note tucked into the doll’s fist which read something along the lines of:

“You will lose everyone that you love, but that love will come back to you in a different form.”

That sentence brought tears to my eyes and made my whole body shiver. It landed deep within my heart and stayed there. In it, I see the way to two main Truths: that of Surrender/Acceptance and that of Infinite Love.

Firstly, Surrender. Through the changes of life (whether it’s the waxing and waning of relationships, your death, or mine) it is 100% certain that at some point in time, we will lose everyone we love. A heartbreaking thought, for sure, but also a freeing one – a realization which, once accepted, calls us into Presence and Gratitude.

It means that we can stop playing out the grasping/pushing dynamic that characterizes (let’s be honest) pretty much ALL of our relationships. It is natural to want to hold onto the things that bring us joy and to reject the things that challenge us. Once we acknowledge the truth that it doesn’t matter how much we grasp, we WILL lose it, we see that straining to hold on is futile and allowing things to be is the only thing that makes sense. It allows us to stop fearing the loss and to be able to just enjoy what’s there while it’s there. That is Prescence. That is Gratitude. That is Grace.

And once Fear is gone, what we are left with is Faith and Love, which brings us to the second Truth: Infinite Love. I realized that for all the people who have come and gone in my life… I have never been without love.

Now, that thought’ll make the angsty teenager in you pull a Scooby Doo “hurh?!?” (I’m not going to die if my feelings aren’t reciprocated/I get dumped? I’m not all alone and misunderstood?)! Don’t get me wrong – there have been times when some losses felt rawer and harder to bear than others and some people have left large holes in my sense of who I am or what I am worth. I have had some pretty dark moments, where happiness was something so far in the distance I couldn’t even recall what it felt like. BUT in all those moments, whether I was able to fully experience it or not, Love was there.

It was there in friends who bravely knocked on the walls I had put up, offering me a connection. It was there in the people who listened to me walk down memory lane, holding the hand of the one I had lost, not yet ready to let go. It was there in my dog’s wagging tail. It was there in sunshine and just-because-I’m-thinking-of-you cards and forgiveness for my mistakes.

And furthermore, the amount of Love has never changed – only how open I have been to receiving it.

Which means, then, that Love is not dependent on the people or circumstances in our lives. It just is.

It is The Answer. It is infinite. It is the only thing that is real. And our purpose, as human beings, on this earth, is to be vehicles for expressing that Love. We are not meant to win it, or earn it, or manipulate it. It is not ours. We are of it. We are here to show each other the way and to inspire, comfort, challenge, sometimes hurt, and always teach each other because in the end… we will lose everyone we love. But Love is still there and if we are open and without expectation, we will see it in all the forms it takes.

May all beings experience the Love that surrounds them and fills them. May all beings release fear and be free.