photo by Scott Webb

Rambling on Loss and Hope

I took spring cleaning a little serious, this year, and I’m just starting to count the cost.

In addition to truckloads of general “stuff” donated to local charity, I gave up a few cherished items:

  • I sold my guitar. I’ve been a performing musician for nearly a decade and playing guitar for eighteen years, but I had to cut my last gig short because the brain-injury induced tremors in my fretting hand stopped me from being able to play chords. Just like that, I’m not a guitarist anymore.
  • I sold my camera. Photography has been a hobby since childhood and I’ve even dabbled in the professional pool, but I went over a year without snapping the shutter. In my heart, I’m still a photographer, yet photography is something I ceased to take part in.
  • I rehomed my service dog. The truth is, having a service dog was causing more anxiety than he was relieving. Being a person who does not have a dog was a good decision for me and I am in a healthier place for making the decision, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss my friend.

By volume, I gave up 75% of my material goods. I was ruthless. In many cases, as described above, giving up the material good also meant giving up the identity that went with it. I’m not much of a photographer without a camera. I’m not a dog owner without a dog.

I don’t regret a single decision. I made wise choices and there is a blessing inherent to unburdening oneself of identities that were once true, but no longer.

It was right to sell my guitar, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling in the moment that I made a huge mistake. Maybe I was hasty. Maybe there’s a treatment that would restore use of my left hand to playing. Maybe the physical symptom is temporary. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe if I had kept the camera, I would have used it again, someday. Maybe if I had worked harder, I could have found a way to keep my dog. I miss my dog.

The feelings are real and I’m not going to push them away. I miss getting on stage with nothing but my guitar and a microphone. I miss how I looked at the world differently with an SLR in my hands. I miss being those people, being the musician, being the photographer, being the artist. I’m not going to deny those feelings, but I’m not going to allow them to negate the good choices I made, either.

The choices I made—and the three I mention here are only representative of a larger class—were good and necessary. I will experience the grief and I will trust that if I am still an artist, I will find a new medium. I will find new avenues for sharing my love of Creation. In the mean time, a little brokenness is to be expected.

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