Alena Shekhovtcova

When We Lose Everything, We Can Heal And Begin Again

The summer is fading into a new season. It is a late August morning and there is a welcoming breeze to the soft air that only autumn is familiar with. As wrens harmonize outside of my window, I sense hope returning home, a place it has not been for a long, long time. And so I embrace its revival and, like old times, begin to play with words. 

I have not written in what feels like forever. When loss became my life, my heart was captivated by its density. I have found that when we are consumed by loss, we often wonder why. Questions such as “Why me? Why her? Why us?” surround us like crows circling around their prey, and we suddenly become so overwhelmed and distracted by their ever-so-harrowing existence that it feels as though the world is out to get us. We suddenly feel victimized by our experiences and troubled by our pasts, so much so that it infiltrates our hope and replaces it with sorrow. Our dreams become smaller and our love becomes weaker, all because everything hurts so immensely that it feels like far too much to bear on our own. 

And yet, I have also learned that when we seem to lose anything that meant everything to us, our lives swiftly become an empty canvas, and sometimes it is in the emptiness where the most beautiful of blessings are born. In these times, I often envision myself as a writer of my own story, a painter of my own art, and I pick up my pen or paintbrush even in the most challenging of times to create the most stunning of pieces with the most promising of possibilities. I trust that to believe in the hope of opportunity is to believe in the presence of an ever-lasting, bountiful grace, even in the valleys of circumstances never imagined. 

What I have grasped about this precious life is that it is undoubtedly filled with inescapable suffering and unimaginable pain. Our hearts will journey through more than we ever thought would be possible to survive. Even so, I have grown to understand that what matters most is making some meaning out of our losses. Sharing our wisdoms and gifting our stories can comfort the loneliest of hearts in the most simple yet most profound of ways. Although we may feel that our stories are small and broken, they are in fact purposeful for someone in this blessed life to hear and to heal from.

The reality is, darkness is meant to be felt. Loss is meant to be devastating. Heartbreak is meant to feel painful. If we do not give ourselves permission to allow the grief to erupt, we are not honoring our experiences in the way they were destined to be honored. With profound sadness, there must have been profound love, and love is the integral piece of our God-given purpose. 

So, yes, it will hurt. Our hearts will feel shattered. Our hope will seem dismal. And yet, I have learned that time is a precious healer and a divine gift. With time, perspective becomes an ample and boundless part of our realities, and we are finally given the chance to feel what needs to be felt while continuing on the only way we know how: by one single step at a time. 

We may not know what our futures hold, but we can trust this: they will be full of love and hope, they will be traced by the fate of heavenly promises, and they will be the most elegant and alluring of stories that could have ever been written about the treasured life so graciously given to us. I have learned that healing does not just come to us, it is waged within us and fought vehemently for within our gentle, ever-beating hearts. 

Although I did not notice it during my darkest of days, I now trust that when loss became my life, small seeds of newfound hope sprouted within and around me, too. Now I know that I simply had to rediscover the light to help them bloom, all so I could begin again.