Saturday, July 28, 2012

Stripped

As I stood in the shower with yet another handful of hair falling out of my head (I know, TMI), faithfully massaging my new Redken "thinning hair" product into my scalp (I said I know, TMI), I began thinking through the past year and how much has changed....

I lost my singing voice
consequently
I lost my job
consequently
I lost our second income and plans to move my family closer to the beach.

Then I lost my mind from the losses
(okay, that may be strongly worded but you get my drift)
and with it lost much weight
(and not in a healthy way but in an "I'm too depressed to eat, nothing sounds good
even though I'm Italian and food is generally the only thing I think about" kind of way)
and finally I lost my dad, a huge part of my whole world.
(The epitome of understatement.)

There I am in the shower, realizing that in addition to these losses,
Come on, Redken, you can do it!!
I continue to daily lose my hair,
while praying, "Please, Lord, not another strand.  Not one more strand."
Before you judge me for how shallow that sounds,
for those of you who don't know me, bear with a description:
TINY frame (notice I didn't say tiny body?)
but BIG everything else...
Big eyes
Big personality
(Dare I say it?  Yep)  Big mouth
And finally, Big hair.
Like missing link kind of big hair.
These are the physical traits I have always felt defined me.
So to lose one of those feels devastating.
I'm trying to be good with the possibility of being bald.  Luckily, I look great in a hat!

But I've digressed, so back to my shower reflection.  In regards to the losses, I wasn't feeling upset but was feeling gratitude.  However, before these threads of gratitude had fully been woven, my mind went to personal cost in terms of history, and the poster boy who wins the prize for the most losses ever...Job.

In one day, to fire or wind or general upheaval, Job literally lost:
All of his oxen, sheep, camels, house, sons, daughters and servants (except for the servants spared to come and tell Job the bad news each time). 

Jobs response?
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
 and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Of course, we all know that after enduring all of this
plus his wife's nagging to curse God
plus sores from his head to his feet
plus sitting in a pile of ashes picking at the sores with a leaf,
(I mean, come on...picking at the sores with a leaf?!?!?)
he was finally and abundantly blessed for his faith. 

But as I was researching where the tide turned for Job, I continued to turn to chapter upon chapter and verse upon verse of doubt, depression, despondency, anger, and suicidal thoughts, thinking I would find the resolution right around the corner.  To give you an idea of how far I read, he loses everything in Chapter 2 and doesn't receive his recompense until the epilogue of Chapter 42. That's alot of chapters of suffering!! These are the chapters we gloss over to get to the "good part" of the story - the lesson.  We aren't often reminded of how agonizing it was for Job emotionally; how he wished for Hell over further suffering; how he endured trials most of us will never know.

I think about my own chapter (notice the lack of plurality) of suffering.  Nothing compared to Job - not that I'm minimizing the problems I had, but I can say without equivocation that I can't imagine I would have survived the pain on the "Job barometer of disaster."  Finally, however, I come to my true point...the gratitude for my losses.  I have come to realize that without these losses, I wouldn't have experienced the gains.

I gained true faith.
I gained a new relationship with my Heavenly Father.
I gained a new career.
I gained the ability to make better decisions  -
to be transparent, vulnerable, compassionate
over
proud, defensive, self-absorbed.
I gained a better marriage and deeper bond with my children.
I gained a life of service.
I gained the certainty of salvation.
Oh, such gains there've been...

The losses - well, they pale in comparison with the gains.
The lesson is learned.
I gained life eternal.

(Private P.S. to God...since I got the message, Lord, could you please throw down some Heavenly Rogaine? My exposed scalp needs it.  Thanks!)



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