Yesterday was the festival of St. Anthony. St. Anthony is the patron saint (amongst other stuff) of lost things. The prayer to St. Anthony that I like best is:
Tony, Tony, turn around, Something’s lost that must be found.
Some of you might be more familiar with the Hymn of St Anthony. It goes more like this: ‘Where the bloody hell are my car keys’ and verse 2, ‘Where the f*ck is my phone?’
The feast of St. Anthony is always a time when I think about what is lost (yaknow, besides my car keys and my phone).
When I was a young slip of a girl, we were watching the World Series on my grandparent’s TV. The Dodgers had just won, and they were playing ABBA’s The Winner Takes it All. I find that song heartbreaking, probably because that instant – with the blue and white streamers and confetti in the air, and the pitiful team (I don’t even remember who it was), swept to the side like garbage. And the line “The winner takes it all, The loser standing small / Beside the victory, That’s her destiny”. Ugh. That was the first time I thought about what it was like to lose with the world watching. Truly, the victor writes the history. So with the feast of St. Anthony, I’m thinking about how, after the Stanley Cup loss a few nights ago, Marchand says he’ll never get over it. I hope that when this loss doesn’t smart quite so much, he’ll feel differently. But I get it. And the Jackwad interviewers asking “How do you feel?” How do you think, you idiots??
But really, loss means as many things as there are people to feel the loss. I read a segment a while back from Humans of New York about a musician whose instrument “died”. She said that she felt like a widow because of the journey they had taken together. Everyone has a story of the thing that they pine for because of the thing that they feel they lost. The felt hat I loved and lost ages ago. The inability to have SuerDuper sundaes from the no-longer-a-thing Stoney Creek Dairy. The earring that I lost on a golf course. The boss I lost when she was let go.
Bigger things – A loved one (due to death or distance), an opportunity, a part of what makes you feel whole – like a breast to cancer or a limb in an accident or the intangible thing that depression rips from someone.
Loss is the space between what you had, and where you are now. Whether it’s a French Horn or a beloved trinket, or a person you felt was one of your kindred, or a missed opportunity that was so close you could taste it, loss seems to be something that people want to wave away. We would do well to not belittle the losses in our lives and the lives that cross our paths.
Certainly, loss provides lessons and opens doors that would be available without the loss. If I didn’t lose my job, I wouldn’t have moved back to Southern Ontario. And if that didn’t happen, Mike wouldn’t have gone back to school, and… and… and. I hope I always have the presence of mind to stretch into the lessons loss provides, and may I empathize with others who feel losses variously in their lives. Like, say, Brad Marchand. For all his obnoxious face-licking antics of last year, and is cocky demeanor this year, he lost something that he wanted. And in that moment, that was all there was.
So, may St. Anthony help us to find things that are lost, comfort us in losses that can’t be regained, and protect the things we hold dear.