When I was younger, an abandoned house stood at the back of my family’s 265 acre property in Mississippi. Nestled around a wooded area, this cabin had stood for over a century. If I’m honest, I really didn’t know much about the history of the home. I know a family lived there. I know it was built in the late 1800’s with no plumbing or running water. And I know my grandparents had a dream. They had a dream of turning it into something that would bring our family together, a place where we could find rest. A little over a decade ago, my grandfather had the house moved from the back of the property up on a hill overlooking a pond. Day after day, week after week, my grandfather and his crew worked on the house, building what we would affectionately call “the cabin”. You see, my grandmother had always wanted to renovate the cabin as far back as I can remember, to turn it into a place where we could gather for holidays, weekend sleep-overs, weddings, and summer cookouts as a retreat from our busy lives. My grandmother’s dream was finally coming true.
The cabin was stocked with a wood stove, beloved antiques, heirlooms passed down from generation to generation, and more love than you could ever imagine. My grandfather rebuilt the cabin from the ground up as an act of love for our family. My grandmother planted a garden in the back with the most delicious vegetables and beautiful flowers you could find. We roasted hotdogs on the back patio, told stories, watched the stars come out at night. We swam and we fished. We rode ATV’s, or as we called them, 4-wheelers. We curled up and watched movies at night. It was one of the most magical places in the world.
Then, we lost it.
We don’t know how the fire started. We don’t even know when it started. We simply pulled into the drive and the remains of the heartbeat of our family were revealed to us. Devastated. Upset. Angry. These are just some of the emotions we felt. You can still hear the emotion building up inside of my grandmother’s heart every time we talk about it. Things are just things, but the cabin was our thing. And we lost it.
But here’s what I know about loss–
Loss can either bring a family together or tear it apart. The choice is ours. Loss makes us realize that we are not immortal. That our every day lives are just that–here one day and gone the next. Nothing is guaranteed for tomorrow. Loss can paralyze you if you let it. Not knowing where to turn or what to do next are two powerful character traits of loss.
But, loss also has the power to move us forward. Remembering the heart behind the things we have and do, loss gives us the ability to see the world differently. Sure, the building is gone, but the feeling of the cabin, what happened there will stay with us forever.
I don’t know about your own loss and what you’re going through, but I want you to know that God loves you and He’s walking with you every step you take. And when fear creeps in, when you’re afraid to take the smallest of steps, remember where you’ve been isn’t the end of the story. Focus your attention on who you’re becoming. Don’t let this stop you in your tracks. Recently, I read Love Lives Here by Maria Goff. She and her family lost a family lodge to a fire a few years ago. In her book, she writes, “It won’t be the fires that destroy our lives and our faith, it will be obsessing over not getting burned again that will”. So, please, take that step. It’s worth it, I promise.