Updated: Oct 20, 2022
I threw the phone at the couch in frustration. How could he? I only had one close friend that was going to my high school, and now he is switching high schools? I was already nervous to start high school, and now my closest friend wouldn’t be there. I felt betrayed and scared.
Fast forward to my junior year of high school. I was in woodshop making a piano bench. Part of the process involved drilling holes into the legs of the piano bench. I would later fill the holes with wood. It was a necessary part of bringing the side of the bench in to connect with the leg. As I was drilling, I began to imagine that I was the wood and how it must feel to get drilled into. Not only the pain of having a sharp tool pressed into you, you also were losing part of yourself as it got cut away. The pain of loss would have been strong if I was the wood.
I then realized that the entire process of making a piano bench would be painful for the wood. It begins with taking rough wood, and then cutting it to the proper lengths. Then it is cut on the table saw for width, jointed for straightness, and planed for thickness. Each of those steps involves loss, and each step was repeated various times for different parts of the bench. Each step brought pain, but each step brought the wood closer to becoming something new.
I then realized that loss also can have a corresponding beauty. Without pain and loss, new creation could not take place. The wood had to have holes drilled into it so that something new could be put into its place. That new item was instrumental in helping the wood become a beautiful piano bench. If the wood focused on the moment, it would only notice the pain of loss, but once it became a piano bench it would realize the beautiful and necessary change that came over it.
That moment is when I also realized the beauty that followed losing my best friend to a different high school. While at that high school, he became friends with a group of people who I then became friends with. Those friendships continue to this day. If my friend had not left me, I would never have gained some of my most dear relationships and biggest life lessons in my most pivotal time of development. When my friend left me to go to a different high school, all I could feel was the pain of loss. Looking back years later, I realized how that loss helped me to become something greater.
The point of this is not to say that all loss is a good thing. Losing family members to death among other large trials does not guarantee that your life will be greater because of that loss. However, much of loss we experience in life shuts doors so that other better ones can open. Sometimes we need to be willing to let things go so that we can have the time, ability, or opportunity to be part of something greater.
While loss hurts when it is happening, the pain can help remind us that there are good days ahead, as the holes that are there now can become part of something new, something bigger, or something that ends up blessing us more than what we had before. With some patience and faith, we can understand that, like a piano bench, beauty, meaning, and opportunity all take shape as we are refined and lose things that are important to us or that stop us from being shaped into all that we can be.
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