If I had something profound to say about letting go, I would say it here. A morsel of thought to open a poetic blog post. Suffice to say that I recognize that this is a theme: letting go. So I probably could stop being surprised when it surfaces and resurfaces, along with its charming companion, acceptance-with-joy (thank you, Hannah Hurnard).
This is what I remember from the last weeks of September and the month of October: The expected, yet saddening, end of Grandpa’s life (9/14; at least his life here with us), a mad flurry and rush out the door for a wedding, a funeral and a reunion, the first week that I produced 1,200 lines per day, 4 out of 5 days, was my last week of work before a month-long break, seeing Grandpa, remembering all the delightful times we shared together and weeping, missing him, realizing that my niece will not even know him (of course, I don’t know my great-grandparents either). Then said niece struggled with sleep that week and we all — mama, aunties, grandma — took shifts bouncing, rocking, driving around town at midnight. And my dear husband’s flights were canceled, delayed, overfilled and we hashed and rehashed plans A, B and C, until I was so frustrated, exhausted and desperate I was convinced I didn’t care if he even made it home on leave at all. And the truck’s alternator gave up the ghost suddenly and providentially on the street outside my parents house (thanks be to God, our extended warranty covered that very expensive repair and the dealership repaired it in just one day). And I drove to my mother-in-law’s home, closer to the airport, on a Friday night in hope that he would arrive in the morning, but not quite knowing if he’d even get a seat on the plane. Yet again, thanks be to God, he got the last seat leaving his tiny island and the second-to-last seat on the flight to the States.
Then a month of friends, family, more meals out-to-eat than I can count (local restaurant owners of multiple towns, you’re welcome), catching up on all the foods he’s missed, sleeping on an air mattress, sleeping on a futon, a few sweet nights in a charming B&B, courtesy of some generous friends, driving, driving, driving. A few moments of looking at each other and asking, “what do we do when we’re together?” and many moments of thankfulness in shared company, of “I can’t believe you are here within reach right now!” and enjoying the convenience of saying exactly what we’re thinking, right when we’re thinking it, rather than waiting for a scheduled phone call or Skype date. Of course, we had to wait until the last minute, but again thanks be to God, his leave was extended and we came “home” to Utah together. And got to go to church and work in the yard and sleep in our own bed. And there were many long conversations and many games of Settlers of Catan and a lot of laughter and a few movies watched.
Then I took him back to the airport. Just dropped him off at the curb this time, instead of going in and waiting like I did in February. I cried. And then I went home to start this life-without-him-here again. This time at least we know how to do it. At least it isn’t an unknown. And I feel busy, busy, busy. Almost too busy to feel stuff, much less write about it.
let go, let go, let go.
When I am living in the middle of the story, all I want to do is hold on to something. To a plan. To a goal. To a promise. Yet weirdly in retrospect, the letting go actually works out okay.
I guess when they say let go and let God, they are certainly not kidding.
I love November. November and March are my two favorite months, seriously. Even this time of year is reminding me to let go, like the leaves releasing the branches, or is it the branches that unleash the leaves? I haven’t slowed down at all (perhaps that’d be good), but I feel nature’s rhythm slowing somewhat, like a long sigh. The days have been extraordinarily gorgeous, yellow leaves, blue sky, cold mornings, warm afternoons, even a day with snow on the ground. I am aware that I do not pause long enough to live well in this beauty, to become part of it. I would like to. But I have this fierce drive to check things off a multiplicity of lists.
When I rake the leaves, I am actually annoyed when the wind ruffles the raked piles and sweeps another scurry of leaves into the tidy-for-a-moment lawn.
If that doesn’t blatantly reveal how uptight I can be, well then…
I am wondering just now if perhaps priorities amble hand-in-hand with letting go and acceptance-with-joy. Priorities like relationships and living in the beauty, rather than just checking things off the list, might gently help me release even the list itself.
One more thing to release in the long letting go that is life.