Friday, February 7, 2014

Let it Go

I have a little shadow, and her name is Maryn.  There's nothing better than hearing her glee when I come home from work, and receiving her full-body hugs.  I adore hearing all the stories of her day and knowing that she wants to snuggle with me first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  But there are times when it becomes a little much.  Like the other night when I tucked the kids into bed, cleaned up, got everything organized for the next day, and finally took a long-awaited relaxing bath.  But she just wanted to be with me, and escaped from bed, snuck downstairs, and took her spot beside the bathtub, refusing to budge.  She even fell asleep on the bathroom floor when I would not get out and tuck her back in.  She clings so tightly and sometimes I balk at her need and want her to let go a little so that I can have just a little time to myself.

It's hard when I have to leave and worry how she will respond without me there, when I feel the guilt of wondering if I'm giving her all she needs.  Someday I know the fear will be reversed, and I'll be wondering how I will make it as she goes away to live her own independent life.

Life is a continual process of letting go, but the experience is not natural in the sense of it feeling easy.  We struggle through the pain of letting go of expectations and dreams when they don't pan out, and relationships that evolve.  We move through one stage and another, growing and learning lessons that change who we are.

Sometimes we're aware of the necessity of letting some things go: attitudes, habits, things that keep us stuck.  I've had the empowerment ballad of the day, "Let it Go", on repeat since seeing the movie "Frozen" numerous times, and I can identify with Elsa's fear that keeps her isolated, and the freedom she experienced when she let go of others' expectations.  But for many of us, that's a daily battle, and we spend much of our lives locked behind frozen doors of our own making.  More often, it seems like we are in denial about the ties that bind us.  Sometimes we hang on so tightly to our beliefs, to our need to be right, to our vision of how things should be that we become frozen where we are, unable to grow, bend, or change to meet the needs in front of us.

This is a challenge for me, and also a reminder to show grace to those who are fighting the same battle.  As I selected a card from the The Language Of Letting Go card deck (by Melody Beattie), this was my what I found helpful:

"Today I will search for my own truth, and I will allow others to do the same.  I will value the worth of my own vision and the vision of others.  We are all on our own paths, making the decisions that are right for us today."

Many know the familiar serenity prayer which talks about changing what we can and letting go of what we can't (with God's help), but I learned that there's more to it that the often quoted opening:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
--Reinhold Niebuhr
It's hard to see hardship as the pathway to peace.  It's frustrating to take the world as it is, not as I would have it.  But the hardest thing for me may be trust.  I have a lot to learn from my girl who trusts that all will be well if she is by my side.  May I remember that all is well when we stay by God's side.

For today, I will hang on to this: God, help me to change what is mine to change, and to let go of the rest, entrusting it to you.  Amen.

Wisdom card by Suzanne Vinson of silvertreeart

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