Today is Good Friday … an important day on the calendar of Christians everywhere. Earlier today, as I was reflecting on this and the reason for marking the occasion, the concept of ‘sacrifice’ stayed on my mind, and I started to compare it to the concept of ‘loss’ … and I thought it might make a good topic for today’s blog article.
Specifically, I wondered about how these two terms differ. What makes something a sacrifice, as opposed to a loss? Surely we have all experienced both in our life. So what are some of the differences between them? Why is one considered more noble than the other? Why does one generate resentment, while the other does not? Is it just an attitude? Or is there a more profound meaning that can be revealed?
I Reached the Conclusion …
… that it’s probably different for each individual, because of the sense of either ownership or entitlement that we attach to it. If we decide to voluntarily make a trade-off, we are usually doing so for some perceived benefit – whether it’s on behalf of someone else’s welfare, or for our own sense of feeling good … and sometimes even for our personal gain, depending on what the outcome of the trade is. We might comfortably label this as ‘sacrifice’ – to give up one thing in order to gain another.
Of course, sacrifice doesn’t always have to be material. We can surrender a point of view or a position in a discussion – some people would call it acquiescing, where they give up their opinion for the sake of peace or friendship or some other motive. So this would also qualify as a sacrifice, wouldn’t it?
So, then … When Does ‘Loss’ Steal the Moment?
Upon further reflection, I decided that loss occurs when something is taken from us, rather than given up – when we are unwilling to yield that which we so highly value – whether it be love, life, or possession. Someone or something reaches in and tears it from us. There is an irony or unfairness that we attach to it, and we are bereft at such forfeit. Our expectations have been ruptured, and we are left suddenly feeling no longer whole.
In either scenario, we in one moment ‘have’ and in the next moment ‘have not’ … and yet, with one we can accept and move on – and even feel at peace; with the other, however, we can become mired in bitterness, anger and sorrow. It would seem that the only barrier between the two extremes is the ‘attitude’ with which we face it. What a curious human condition, when one stops to consider it.
How Do Your Columns Stack Up?
In thinking back over your own life, do you carry the burden of resentments over a perceived grievance or injustice? Has something been taken from you, leaving you damaged or injured? Perhaps a loved one left without warning – or worse. Does the pain of it still burn in your chest? How long is long enough to lament a loss? At what point can you allow yourself to simply surrender that loss to the universe and allow healing to replace it?
If we can come to terms with the transitory nature of this life and all things within it, we are more likely able to find reasons to celebrate our many blessings – and to feel grateful for what we have had, or who we have known and loved, rather than lamenting that which we have lost.
Remind Yourself …
However temporary it may be, remember that life is a journey, and that from our first breath to our last, our days are filled with a continual coming and going of people, possessions, and pursuits. The best we can hope to do is honour them while we can, and release them when we must.
… and in the meantime, stay focused on the good things in life!