". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Letting Go

Our family has experienced some pretty big losses in the last three years. It actually seems like it's been longer than that, but it hasn't been quite three years since the dominoes started to fall: first my father-in-law, then my mother-in-law, then a dear family friend/former pastor, then another friend who was also preschool teacher to two of my children. But the losses have been not only the kind that occur when beloved people die; we have also repeatedly experienced the loss of broken relationships. My mother-in-law, whose mental illness we didn't fully understand until after she was gone, left a particularly painful legacy for two of her children (my husband and his sister) in her decision to disinherit them. They were both dutiful children and there was no basis for her action. It doesn't make the rejection any less painful to acknowledge that she was not in her right mind. My husband and I have also both experienced the end of several close friendships this year. And I am realizing that in many ways I have effectively lost my mother and I have been grieving that for a while. Although she is still alive, she has become a person that relates to me no longer as my mother but instead as a child, someone that I must take care of. No, I take that back. My children look at me through eyes of love. My mother doesn't anymore. At this point I am her caretaker and nurse and not much else.

Particularly when one is dealing with personal rejection or emotional hurt, the advice that is often given is to "let it go." It's good advice. It does no good to dwell on the things that cause one pain or to continue returning to the occasion of hurt. But I have found that it is advice that I am unable to follow. I cannot by force of will let pain and grief go. Yes, sometimes I forget for a little while. But invariably I stumble upon a reminder of the past and the reality of pain and loss returns.

And yet . . . .

While I have realized that I am incapable of letting go of deep hurts, it turns out that somehow, in time, they start to let go of me. Little by little they loosen their hold, and like Jack Dawson to Rose in The Titanic, they bid me go, swim toward the light, and keep on living. And if the ocean in which I am swimming is dotted with life raft after life raft of Word and Sacrament such that I see forgiveness and reconciliation everywhere I turn, then I know without a doubt that I am going to succeed in reaching that light. In fact, it turns out that light has already sought out and found me, and rescue is at hand.

'Bye, Jack. Rest in peace.


Rebekah said...

I've also wondered for a long time where the "Let Go" button is. God be with you, Cheryl.

Leah said...

I think long suffering with each other as sinners is one of the hardest things to bear in this life. At least for me, with certain people, it is.

Maybe Jesus even has to do the letting go for us. We just receive it, even if we can't feel it. Ever. Sigh.

God's peace to you and to your family tonight.

Cheryl said...

Thank you, Rebekah and Leah, for your empathy and love.

Phillip said...

Between the post & the comments, I can't help but say:

"Blogging at its best!" :)

Myrtle said...

Amen, Phillip!!