“We can’t imagine the freedom we find, in the things we leave behind.”

That’s a song from a Michael Card song I really like.

I’ve had a lot of loss the past two years. I lost relationships, and friendships. I lost a whole lot of material possessions in a forest fire a year ago today. (Things are just things until you lose them. It’s easy to say and hard to actualize.) I lost a friend to the arms of Jesus. I lost a kitten. I lost a family. I lost a baby. I lost dreams, and hopes, and health. So much loss.

But with each thing I’ve lost, with each time my hands or my heart were emptied, there was something that I was being emptied FOR. I think the phrase “filling a void” is wrong. Some voids can’t be filled. There’s still a big, gaping empty hole in my heart for Emily, and for my family, and for the sweet baby I never got the chance to meet, and for a host of other people and things. I don’t know that those holes can be filled in this side of heaven. But with each┬á thing I’ve lost, my heart has grown larger, to hold and experience things that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise, and to see the grace and mercy of Christ in ways that would never have been possible otherwise. I don’t know that grief ever goes away completely, but it can be outshone by gratitude. I’m not sure how or why, but contentment comes a lot easier after things have been taken away. Light shines more brightly because of the darkness, and joy increases with sorrow.