What's lost is nothing to what's found,
and all the death that ever was,
set next to life,
would scarcely fill a cup. ~ Frederick Buechner
This morning on Facebook a friend shared that today is the 42nd anniversary of her entry into religious life. She recalled waking up on her first morning, wondering what on earth she'd let herself in for, and added that she could never have imagined the half of it. Later, she commented that if she'd known what lay in store she'd have run a mile - thereby missing the gig of a lifetime.
Those sentiments could well be echoed by people in so many other ways of life, recalling getting married, becoming a parent, joining the army or embarking on a challenging yet satisfying career, or giving up their job for overseas volunteering. What's lost is nothing to what's found... as millions will testify, in ways little or big. As do so many religious; as do I.
What's lost is nothing to what's found... and indeed, in religious life there comes a time when whatever's lost disappears in the plenitude of what's found: not in one moment, or in an overwhelming torrent of joy, but in a gentle seeping, a deepening of certainty, a quiet abundance of grace. It disappears in the gradual unfolding, the growth and transformation, in God's fulfilled promise of fidelity; in gratitude and quiet joy at all this and so much more. Call what's found the hundredfold, the best wine, or - like my friend - the gig of a lifetime; it is so often an intangible, indefinable reality, beyond our wildest dreams and imaginings, and all the sweeter for being unexpected and unheralded.