I believe the most valued things and people in my life are those I’m willing to sacrifice.
In terms of things or possessions, what I’m willing to do without tells me more about who I am than what I have or can have and proceed to own. When I was eighteen, in my third senior semester, I was used in some cosmic creative fashion to create a charcoal portrait of Abe Lincoln in art class. Though truly obsessed with the project I certainly don’t think I made it myself, it was inhumanly magnificent and shortly became my most important possession.
As a very ill and neurotic alcoholic teenager my end was nearing quickly. Following a complete surrender to my hopeless condition I was to go by bus to treatment on my third day sober. The only thing standing in the way of my new found life was the thirty dollars I was short for my bus fare. A one time substitute art teacher had shown interest in my portrait for her husband’s law firm. Sold, for thirty dollars!
Twenty years later old honest Abe remains the single token and greatest material sacrifice I’ve made toward what I’ve been given. Surely I’ve wanted him back a thousand times and have had the money, regardless of the cost, to bring Abe home, but I cannot! What it represents to me to do without is far more valued than having him back.
What I want is simply not that important. In recent years, my mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well being needed restoring at the expense of my marriage and time with my two sons. Sacrificing my full time life with my boys to save my sanity was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Letting go of my wife, whom I loved deeply, might be the greatest gift I could give her.
My heart and love currently belong to someone unavailable. She and her spirit hold a very lofty place in my life because I’m willing to be without her. Detaching with love and sacrificing my best friend, Pat, was extremely hard before his drug induced death. Watching hundreds and thousands of the addicted drowned in their own sea has required huge sacrifice. Hanging up the phone on my suicidal brother was a dangerous risk. I cannot give people what they will not receive, and I cannot have what is not mine to have.
A greater love and life lesson awaits me when I’m willing to step back and not inject my will onto others and their journey through life or to its end. The cost will not be cheap! Sacrifice is being quiet when I want to speak. Sacrifice is being willing to lose who and what I love and cherish. Sacrifice is the last thing I want to do and the first thing I need to consider.
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