A few weeks ago, I left my truck door unlocked, and someone got into my truck and took my favorite pair of sunglasses. I went through all the emotions: I felt violated, I was angry, I wanted to get even. Finally, I accepted that my glasses were gone. I would have to replace them. This wasn’t the end of the world. We have all lost things in this world, from something small like a pair of sunglasses to things far more significant, like a family member or friend. While the range of significance in the kinds of losses we face might be substantial, at the end of the day losing something we care about stinks!
Students across the country have lost a significant amount of opportunities this spring. This is substantial for many of our students, but our Seniors have been most affected. They have lost their final season of sports, awards programs and ceremonies, prom, and for most the opportunity to have a traditional graduation. Schools are also caught in a dilemma, trying to balance the social-distancing guidelines that are in place with the frustrations of seniors and parents that rightfully want to preserve as many opportunities as possible. Know that schools want to make this season meaningful for our seniors, even if some of the events may not look like they have in the past. We know that losing something you care about isn’t enjoyable.
Years ago, I was given a bit of great advice. I was struggling with a loss, and I was frustrated about it. A friend told me that I needed to loosen my grip on my stuff. It is easy to lose sight of what’s really important when you have too tight a hold on your possessions. He told me that radical ownership was always openhanded. The idea that to appreciate what we have, we must be willing to let go, was something that I had never really considered. I realized that I would be much happier in life if I didn’t grab hold of things too tightly. Openhanded ownership has helped me recognize those places where I have been blessed far more clearly. It has helped me to be more generous with what I have. I am always in a better place as a husband, a father, and a leader when I am living through the lens of openhanded ownership.
As we face the emotions that are caused by the losses of this season, we should do everything possible to maintain an optimistic mindset. We must push through the grief and continue to believe that good things are about to happen. We will come through this. I continue to believe that life will look a lot more like normal in the next few months. Dining out, camping out, and baseball will all return and this will pass. I can’t pretend that losing things we will never get back doesn’t hurt, because it does. I know that it is hard to focus on our blessings. Staying positive and focusing on my blessings allows me to continue to grow into the best version of myself!
Beware that you do not lose the substance by grasping at the shadow. -Aesop