Anguish used to permeate my soul when I found it was impossible to pursue a career in classical voice and I recall years of agonizing pain, feeling like I had lost a major portion of my identity when I became ill and to some extent lost my talent in singing. It was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced and caused me to cling to my other academic love of English throughout my higher education. High school friends majored in music and I lost sight of them as they pursued the road I would have given virtually anything to follow. I set my sights on a PhD, and began to pursue my other sacred academic passion until the immoral antics of a few professors destroyed my GPA and shattered the hope of gaining my cherished goal any time soon, or possibly ever. Feeling forsaken and imprisoned in a world that held little place for who I felt I really was, I had no option but to forge ahead, surrendering the events and course of my life to God.
Shortly thereafter I found myself with post traumatic stress and lost the ability to feel anything save the solitary emotion of compassion. Amnesia wracked my mind and I lost the ability to do some other things that I had held most dear. Reflecting on these things one cannot help but ask why God would take those things I wanted most in this world and fling them immeasurably out of my grasp. Ben Jonson, a contemporary and rival of Shakespeare, warned upon the death of his beloved child, that jealous God may take those things that we love the most lest they become our god and we hold them in higher esteem than the Almighty. And I can't help feeling like there is some truth to that. For my own part each of the things I had lost might have become points of obsession in my life, minimizing or even obliterating my focus on more important spiritual things. Though my pursuits were not evil by any stretch, yet they inspired me so much that perhaps I might have found myself pursuing them even when in direct opposition to the laws of God.
Surely this may not be the case with everything, but it proves an idea that I feel may hold true for many losses in life. Nevertheless, it does not have to prove the end. When God takes things away from us, perhaps it is that we may learn something from it, rearrange our priorities, and rediscover those things that ultimately prove more important. It may take some time; had someone told me to focus on more important things while I was in the violence of grief at losing my opportunity to pursue music I would have argued that nothing proved more important than what I had just lost. But all of life is a learning experience and while the experience may prove painful there is nothing God cannot give back in greater measure, exceeding even our imaginations, when we learn our lessons from it and move forward in humble submissiveness to God. And, as I have often noted, when God takes something good away it is only so He can restore it to us later more powerfully than we ever had it before.