“Seeking what you have lost in other people, places, and things is but a sign that you do not understand that what you have lost still belongs to you. What you have lost is missing, not gone. What you have lost is hidden to you but has not disappeared nor ceased to be.” (ACOL, C:9.39)
There is a tenet in A Course of Love that the relationships that we have known are never really lost to us, that even if separated by distance or even death, we have an ongoing connection. A Course in Miracles says something very similar; it says that all who meet are destined to meet again, for it is intended that all special relationships will eventually turn holy. If we can believe these two ideas (and I believe we can, of course), then we need not fret when there are endings in our lives. Those we have loved are never really lost to us, in part, perhaps, because (as we know) love is eternal.
Thus what we have lost in people, places, and things is not really gone, though it may be missing at any given point in time. Love is not gone, and nearly always love is present, still, in some form that we can appreciate. The forms change, but the eternity of love felt by God’s children does not change.
Of course, we can get stubborn. If we are still clinging to special relationships (even though ACOL says that special relationships must end), we may not be satisfied with anything holy that enters our lives. We may insist, angrily, that we want what we want. And then we are not at peace.
The smart thing is to take love where it is to be found. Holy love lets the other go, leave entirely, without pain or suffering. After all, we know that we are protected and that we are never alone and lost to a remedy. Although another person cannot substitute for the lost person, we can gracefully see the other go—if only because we know that somewhere, somehow, there will be a reconciliation.
This attitude may take a great deal of faith, but it constitutes true love. We do not wish someone to stay with us who wants out. And all the universe will rush to our side with remediation, if we are not too stubborn to accept the love that still abides with us—despite a loss.
A young person, feeling special love for the first time, and then finding rejection, will not easily see this point of view. It takes more maturity to see the whole picture. But an eternal love exists, as this passage implies, and we would do well to focus our eyes on the love that remains in our lives.
We have no other choice, really. And then we open ourselves to new joy, not renewed stubbornness at refusing to let go.