Friday, August 13, 2010

Letting Go?

It seems like wherever I look, I'm being told to let go. I've heard it from the pulpit. I've heard it in movie trailers. My best friend just wrote a blog post on the topic. I've read books on the subject, discussed it many times, and am altogether in favor of it.

Personally, I think it's a brilliant idea, and I would do it if I had any idea how.

The problem, you see, is that letting go is too simple for me. Generally, I only do things that require a great deal of work. And if they don't require work, I create ways to make them difficult. This was why my ballroom dance class didn't work out so well. "Just stop thinking," my instructor told me. Obviously, he did not know me very well.

I like to think that I have inherited a great deal of Reppert tenacity. (People who are not members of my family might use the term "stubbornness," but we'll ignore them.) This means that I cling to things--people, ideas, places, words. Letting them go is not something that I do well.

Awhile ago, I came across Psalm 131:2, where David writes, "But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me." This verse calls to mind a child completely at rest, trusting his mother's arms to hold him.

I am not like that child.

Instead, I'm like a frightened toddler that runs to his mother and clings to her, afraid that she won't hold tight enough and will let him fall.

That's me most of the time. But, if you've had much experience with toddlers, you know that that terrified death-grip doesn't last forever. Once they realize that their mother won't drop them, they relax, their muscles start to unclench, their breathing slows, and they fall asleep. Then they're like the child David wrote about.

I'd like to skip the in-between stage, the one where I'm terrified and holding on for all I'm worth. But it doesn't work that way, at least not for me.

I don't know how to let go, so I'll choose to cling to something better. Then, when I finally relax my grip, I know I won't fall.

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