We have all heard the saying "hang on!" We hear it when we are waiting for something to happen in our lives, we hear it when we are sick or upset, we hear it when we are frustrated and ready for change, and a million other times it seems appropriate. Hanging on is for when we know there is nothing else we can do to merit change other than wait. Sometimes when people tell me to "hang on," I wanna punch them in the schnoz because hanging on is something that I do not do well. Hanging on involves waiting and being patient and those are not two of my best virtues.
But on the flip side of that same coin, and just as equally relevant, is the saying "let go." Our daughter sent us the card to the left recently with the following quote: "We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." I know in my own life I sometimes have needed desperately to let go of something that I was hanging onto and I didn't even realize it. Sometimes we squeeze something in our lives so tightly that it begins to cut off new growth that we are intended to have. I am not suggesting that letting go is any easier than hanging on. On the contrary. Sometimes letting go is harder than hanging on because, at least when we are hanging on, we usually know what we are hanging onto, like hope or faith or love. But when we need to let go of something, whether it's a relationship, an attitude, a past hurt or habit, we don't even realize we are in bondage to that thing until something FORCES us to let go and we then realize that thing incarcerated us and that, in letting go of it, we were set free to move forward. Have you ever been forced to let go of something that you were clinging to tightly? It might be a dream. How about an attitude that you believed was truth but now see differently? It might be a habit that you've practiced for as long as you can remember and, even though it is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, it no longer fits you. It could even be a person. I have known women who cleave to a boyfriend who is familiar and safe but where happiness is not present, but to let go of it feels impossible because it is the only thing she knows and she fears being alone. It is in letting go sometimes that we find our greatest freedom and the life that, as this quote says, is waiting for us.
This very quote mentions the thing that most people I believe have trouble letting go of. And that's letting go of the way they expected their life "to be" in order to embrace the life "they have been given." Maybe they had big plans for life and it seems that real life is much simpler or smaller, maybe even more mundane than they had envisioned. Maybe they had plans to be married with children by age 30 and now they are 35, unmarried, with no prospects in sight. Maybe it's a job or profession they have aspired to for their entire life and now it's looking like life will take them down a very different road. I am not suggesting that we don't dream or that we don't reach for the stars or do everything within our power to find our perfect place on planet Earth where we can thrive. I'm just suggesting that we consider there might be things we are holding onto that keep us from getting there. Or that there might be something even better than we think, if we but let go of the things keeping us tightly bound, choking off what might be better than we can even imagine.
Parts of my own life haven't turned out exactly as I had imagined. Anyone who knows me knows that I constantly struggle with all my children living far away from me. I had imagined my life as I grew older somewhat different than it actually is now. As I come upon a pivotal birthday this summer, I have been doing a lot of soul-searching. Am I living the life I always wanted? In some things, no. I had motherhood and Nana-hood envisioned where every holiday, every birthday I would be surrounded with all my family -- every child and their spouse and their children gathered around our table for a meal. I had envisionsed weekly lunches and shopping dates with my daughters and calling my son to hop on over whenever I needed his capable hands. Now they are far away and that part of my life I had envisioned is not only NOT the way I had hoped, but impossible at this time. I miss my kids every single day. But did I envision a life of love and do I now possess love that manifests itself differently? Yes, indeed. Every day of my life I feel loved and cherished by these amazing children God gave me. I can call on any one of them at any given time and I know they will love me and be there for me. And I live in the peace of knowing they are exactly in the place they need to be right now FOR THEM. I have had to accept the fact that life is not about just what I want, that my children are called to something bigger and that doesn't always involve me. And it's in accepting that that I can say life is good. Life is amazing. It's in letting go of the preconceived ideas I had for my life and my roles as a mother and grandmother that I can still enjoy life even though my life isn't exactly the way I envisioned it would be. I cherish the moments we have together and, in between those times, I try to live exuberantly with what my life looks like now. Does it mean I never have a pity party for what I hoped would be? No, I do! Does it mean I no longer hope for change? No, it doesn't. It simply means I let go of what I had expected and accept what is. That is the only way to live if we wish to thrive, enjoy peace and contentment in the "here and now," and grow. And we should never, ever stop growing.
Sometimes we need to hang on, but sometimes we need to let go to see what is waiting for us. What is waiting for you on the other side of letting go?
Posted by CC
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