3 Actions When Facing Loss


The Golden State Warriors defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals reminds us that we live constantly under the threat of loss—from the loss of teeth, hair, and a waistline; to the loss of health and energy; to the loss of a spouse and children.

When losses come we make one of two choices—we can become bitter or we grow better.

The truth is that we will face losses. No one is exempt. Tragedy will come. Life is not smooth. I used to tell people, “Life is a series of losses and gains.” Now, as I have grown older, I have changed the statement slightly: “Life has more losses than gains.” When we face loss, the real test is how we respond.

Loss is inevitable, often, painful. Unfortunately, in this fallen world, our lives are touched by loss over and over again. How can you and I grow better instead of becoming bitter?

  1. Find a safe place.


In a neighborhood I once lived, small but bright posters in the front windows of certain homes pictured the silhouette of an open hand. The poster was obviously positioned in a prominent place, seen even by a child. The poster was a sign of a safe place. It was a signal to a frightened or sick child that this home offered protection and assistance. If one only knocks on the door, safety could be found.

Everyone needs a safe place when they have encountered a loss. Like the theme song to the old television show Cheers says, “You want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.”

People who have experienced debilitating loss need a safe place. A place surrounded by loving and caring family and consoling friends. Just as a child who has lost her way, or is in trouble, or experiencing pain, we need a place that offers comfort and protection.

2. Find a friend.


Someone said that a friend is a family you choose. The main business of friendship is to sustain and make bearable each other’s burdens.

After I received the call that my father died, my wife said, “Do you need to call Matt or Mike?” (Two of my best friends.) She knew the importance of friends to soothe the blow of a major loss.

We need friends who will significantly contribute to our lives. They provide us with relational strength. Friends are the Velcro of life, enabling us to stick in spite of the rough spots. Good friends make us better people.

3. Find a cause.


In May of 1980, teenager Cary Lightner of Fair Oaks, CA was hit and killed by a drunk driver. His mother, Candy Lightner, was a successful real estate salesperson. She discovered that the driver of the vehicle had been arrested many times for drunk driving, had his license suspended for driving while intoxicated, yet was still on the road. Within months she began, what became a nationwide organization known as MADD—Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Candy Lightner experienced a tragic loss. But she did not bottle up her loss in selfishness. She channeled her energy into helping others. She chose not to become bitter. She devoted herself to a cause.

You or I probably won’t start a national movement like MADD, but we can find something to give ourselves to that is bigger than ourselves. The way to recovery from loss is to empty ourselves of selfishness and find something or someone to invest our time and our talent.

Loss does not have to defeat us. It can make us better. But, it is our choice.


About Rick Ezell

I am a husband, father, pastor, and writer. This blog is about shaping character, transforming church, and impacting culture. I believe that if one defines their moments then their moments will determine their character and their character will influence their world. I write on personal development, church leadership, and our changing culture. I also write about the resources I am developing and the books I am writing. My goal is to create challenging, relevant, and inspiring content that will help you be a better person, the church be a better parish, and the world a better place. If you are interested in those things, this blog is for you. I have served the church my entire career as a student minister and senior pastor. I studied at Samford University, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (eventually I will get it). I have written eight books. My most recent ones are Chapter 13: The Excellence of Love and Soul Therapy: The Healing Words of Psalm 23. Both are available as eBooks. I have written over 1000 articles for various local, regional, and national publications. I have been married to Cindy for thirty-three years. We have one wonderful daughter. We live in Greenville, SC. In my free time, I enjoy writing, reading, running, tennis, and golf. You can contact me via email or follow me on Twitter or Facebook. This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my employer. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.
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