This first part is borrowed from a story by Bill Lokey:
It is said there was an ancient custom in Nepal that if a man loses something precious to him the rest of the tribe comes together, enters his home and takes something else from him as well. Through centuries this custom was lost to most and thought of as cruel and barbaric to others who did not understand its origin. One day a man, who was an old resident from that tribe, white haired but full of wisdom was found and asked about the strange custom. He said his ancestors many generations ago had been true to pass down the secret of their tradition and its blessing through their family and he explained the mystery as follows.
“Take this small piece of bread in one hand and this grain in the other. Hold them out to be seen. If suddenly the precious grain is stripped from the one hand, the other hand clenches tightly around the bread to make sure he does not lose it. There stands the man cursing this one hand that has lost his treasure bringing shame upon his whole family while his other hand grips the bread tightly to ensure he keeps what little he has left. With clenched fist he threatens anyone who would get close enough to take away what is rightfully his. What does he look like now? A man staring through eyes of suspicion at anyone who approaches him. A man cursing his misfortune, his shriveled hand, and the many others he has learned to blame. This man crushes the hope of others in need and mutilates the bread in that same fist. The blessing to this ancient custom can only now be understood.
When a precious loss occurs, the other hand clings to what is left and the heart becomes either lifeless or closed. When the tribe and their chief came to his house and emptied the other hand the man fell to the ground in anguish with open hands … open hands now able to receive … to receive from all the other tribe members who had experienced loss before him. While the man with open hands, on his knees, blinded with tears was without strength the fellow tribe people passed by filling his hands with baskets of bread, grain, jars of oil, tools for repairing, stones for a fireplace, carved shingles for a roof, and a place in their midst to call home. Yes what he had was taken away so he had room in his hands and his heart to receive abundance.”
I want you to notice something from this story. There are several elements that we must grapple with when we have lost something valuable:
1. We do tend to cling tighter to what remains and often form unhealthy relationships with people and things that are left.
2. Others get bothered by our clinging, for it changes the relationship they had chosen to have with us.
3. It will take a loving community to rip the thing out of our hands that we are clinging to. It also takes a community to replace some of the grief and pain we have lost.
Are you part of a community like that?