lostfound

We all lose things in our lives.

Some losses are just things we misplace: our wallets, our toys, our tax receipts, our wedding rings. These kind of losses frustrate us, but other than a few minutes of good rooting around, they don’t hurt that much.

Some things are lost due to the effects of time. My father has a whole cabinet full of herbal pills and remedies he takes to combat the ailments of age: the loss of mobility, the loss of energy, and even lost memories. We talk sometimes of fishing trips we went on, or hidden glens where we spotted a really big buck or Yankee pitchers that came up big in the World Series. But of late, I am the one reminding him and he nods his head in agreement though I can see in his eyes that he has no recollection. When I was in Japan, I began to lose my hair. In college, despite working out in the gym and across every hill and field in Indiana, I lost my six-pack. These kind of losses are disappointing because they hint at what once was.

Fortunately, some of these lost things can be gained back. I like to think (and claim!) my hair is growing back. And I am going to have my six-pack back by the time I get married. Some of those pills may help my dad with his knees or his back or with those missing memories.

Unfortunately, most things we lose in life are not wallets and a bit of hair. They are things we can never get back.

Sometimes we lose opportunities. Eight years ago, I bought a cheap DVD player from a new company that was trying to make an impact. Though it was cheap, I quickly realized what a good product my DVD player was. I came home for Christmas and told my dad to invest in this little known company. I didn’t have any money at the time, otherwise I would have invested. That company was LG, a company that is now known around the world for its electronic products. That was a lost opportunity at millions of dollars.

Sometimes we lose competitions. I am a real competitive person. When we used to play cards as a family, no one wanted to play with me because I took everything so seriously. I got so worked up over the way the cards should be played or how my sisters table talked. When I played basketball in Japan, I would get so into our games and each possession that when the ref blew a call, I wouldn’t handle it well. A time a two my teammates had to take me out of the game before I got thrown out. Thankfully, losing a card game and losing a basketball game don’t really matter in the long run. And they taught me how not to lose my temper so easily and how not to lose my composure.

Sometimes we lose things we didn’t know we had, or didn’t know we could lose. In 2008, Philedelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge was a perfect 41 for 41 in save opportunities. He had a 1.95ERA. This year he was awful. He blew 11 saves. When he came in during the ninth inning the whole stadium held its breath. It wasn’t lost stuff, he still had his laser bolt fastball and his great slider. But he had lost his confidence. Confidence is an awful thing to lose because it is not like losing your wallet. You can’t go rooting through your pants and coats and under your car seat until you find it. You have to root inside yourself. The same is true for people with depression. There isn’t really a roadmap back to peace.

Yes, we all lose things in life, some more valuable things than others, some more life changing things than others. But I suppose it is how we respond to losing that makes the difference. Richard Bach said it beautifully. “That's what learning is, after all; not whether we lose the game, but how we lose and how we've changed because of it and what we take away from it that we never had before, to apply to other games. Losing, in a curious way, is winning."

© Seth Crossman