Volume 17 Number 6
What Have You Gained From Losing?
01 December 2004

Can loss turn to gain? Three people's experiences.

I WANTED a more interesting job. I got it, and more money as well. But I also found myself confronted by heavy expectations, which I had not foreseen. I found that I could not cope with them.

I gave up this big work and got a smaller one. I lost some money. But I no longer had to sacrifice the time I needed to give to my marriage and my sons. I gained freedom for my own needs including recreation and found exciting challenges within and outside my work.
Thomas Buehler, Weikersheim-Schaeftersheim, Germany

MY GREATEST loss was in 1980 when my beloved husband Joe died of heart failure after 25 days of marriage. I received from him a great legacy... love is eternal and the purpose will continue.

As I grieved, I often visited the Poor Clare Convent in Arundel, England, where I was then living. In 1989 I was commissioned by the Franciscan Sisters and Poor Clares of Minnesota to write, produce, and perform a play about St Clare of Assisi. The play explored the values of St Francis and St Clare: humility, simplicity, and poverty. I travelled with the play to six countries over a period of five years.

How to live those values—that’s the rub. My second husband, Prof John McCabe, and I live on Mackinac Island in the Great Lakes. We live four miles from town and there are no cars on the island. Getting groceries and mail by bike and using horse and buggy as our taxi is just a small part of living our values. We try... is that enough? In the US will we ever learn?
Karen McCabe, Mackinac Island, Michigan, USA

IT IS unfortunate that we find ourselves measuring the value of life by what we gain or lose. It is as if there exists some mythical scoreboard upon which the meaning of our existence is recorded. In the process of indulging in a competitive struggle—be it an international sporting event or a military action—we pay great tribute to the victors, while the losers are forgotten or punished through intended neglect. Those who end up in the vanquished column might reflect on the how and why, but if the victory has been achieved through less than honourable means, it might well affect not just our thoughts and feelings but the spirit of all involved. While the learning process is always valuable when it leads to a personal course correction, it is even more important when it leads to spiritual growth.

When the terms ‘democracy, security and equality’ have ultimately come to replace ‘victory, domination and annihilation’ then, hopefully, the term ‘conflict resolution’ will have become obsolete. At that point, the virtues of peace and cooperation will have achieved predominance, for a change.
Lloyd Klapperich, Greenville, Virginia, USA

For A Change is an interactive magazine for building trust across the world's divides. It is published by Initiatives of Change - International