We live under all sorts of illusions. There are some pretty major illusions that we are all prone to as human beings. But there are also more personal illusions that are unique to our situation, relationships and experience. We may have an illusion that we are better at a particular skill or task than we really are. Or we may have an illusion that a situation will turn out a certain way. Or we may have an illusion that someone is our friend where he or she doesn’t see it that way.
The thing about illusions is that they seem so real to us. It may be very clear to a third party observer that what we think is reality is an illusion, but to us the illusion is the reality. That makes it hard to give up our illusions, to let them go. Even when the evidence starts to come in that suggests that what we thought real was not, we find ways to explain the evidence away. We hang on, convinced of the reality that we created (or that was created for us; often other people contribute to our illusions, intentionally or unwittingly).
But at some point, the evidence becomes too strong to deny. There comes a time when we are forced to admit that our perceptions were faulty, that what we thought was a reality (and quite often a very pleasant reality) was in fact a fiction. And, that admission can be – and generally is – incredibly painful.
Unfortunately, the fact that what we thought was real was an illusion doesn’t diminish the pain of loss. It doesn’t do a whole lot of good to rationally explain to yourself in that situation, “Well, you’re just giving up something you never really had in the first place.” The feeling of loss for what we thought we had is still very real.
Nonetheless, we have to face up to the reality, to abandon the illusion, to suffer the loss. In those situations, we shed our tears and we pray for the grace to let go. To learn from the experience, hopefully to see with clearer eyes as we continue our life journey.