The loss of nearly everything reveals the true value of what you have left.
Fifteen years ago, the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina took away homes, family photos, and heirlooms, along with the necessities of everyday life—furniture, dishes, towels, sheets, electronics, toys—gone in an instant. When New Orleans Seminary families dressed in hazmat suits to salvage what they could, there were tears aplenty and deep, deep sadness all around. But what I heard over and over again was “Thank God we did not lose what mattered most.”
Catastrophic loss brings a freedom unlike any other. Having nothing left to lose means you have everything to gain. Perceptions of what is truly valuable are altered, reordering priorities so deeply buried under the activities of a busy life that their place is rarely noticed or evaluated.
Consider profound loss to be a permission of sorts, encouraging you to start fresh and put in order the issues of greater importance and those of lesser importance.
Dr. Chuck Kelley retired in 2019 after 23 years as president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Read his full column from the Summer 2020 issue of Resource magazine at Resource.IBSA.org.