I’m sure you’ve heard the song “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell. You may not realize you’ve heard it from the name but if you listen to it, you’ll instantly recognize it. The song’s famous line “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got until it’s gone…” is mostly intended to reflect concern over caring for the environment vs. industrialism. Now it’s somewhat of a cliche phrase used in all kinds of “loss” circumstances. I wonder how often people look at the reverse perspective though. I wonder how often people lose something and it opens their eyes to all the other things they’ve always had.
In one of my recent posts, I discussed how easy it is getting caught up in and focusing on the negative in situations like the above. I talked about how important it is that we focus on the positive. One way I have found myself able to do that is taking a step back and seeing what I’ve always had and maybe never noticed before now. The other night, I went to dinner with some friends. They’ve been in my life for a good while now, since I’ve moved to Texas, but I’ve never really been exceptionally close to them. For most of dinner, I was texting with my ex-wife about some logistics of our divorce and that had me in a pretty foul mood. I was focusing on the negative. At some point, one of the persons with which I was having dinner had my phone and I kind of freaked out because I didn’t want them to see the ongoing conversation I was having. It was at that point that I opened my eyes to what was in front of me. I had spent the evening texting and focusing on things I shouldn’t have rather than enjoying the company of friends right then and there. I put the phone down and enjoyed a wonderful evening with some truly wonderful people.
Since then, I’ve hung out and conversed with these friends several times and I don’t think they really know how much of a blessing it is to my day. That’s true for multiple other friends and relatives as well. One of the greatest things that has come out of this situation for me personally was reconnecting with two people whom I love very much that I hadn’t spoken to in almost 9 years. I’m not going to lie, I sacrificed several friendships and relationships for my marriage. Not always because she asked me to, but because I allowed myself to be wrapped up in the one relationship that mattered most to me at the time. Joni Mitchell had it right that sometimes we don’t know what we have until it’s gone, but it’s important for us to remember that sometimes we don’t know what we have and of what we are capable until something else is gone. If we are willing to open our eyes, oftentimes we will find that it’s in our darkest moments that we can finally see those who truly love us most.