I have been thinking a lot lately about letting go. Confession: it’s something at which I am not so good. But recently, I had to let go of someone that I love and care for very deeply. Actually, there were three somebodies (they came as a package deal). It broke my heart to let go, I didn’t want to let go. I still have a tiny ache in my heart that I think will probably always be there on some level – not just for this let go, but for all the let go’s I’ve had to do in life. But this time, I think maybe I was a little better at it than I have been before.
Why? Well, I have had a lot of practice over the last six years or so. I got divorced, for one thing. And since then there have been a few potential romances that turned out to not be right for one reason or another. (This particular relationship was in the top 3. Ok, top 2. In other words, hopes were UP. WAY). Even though I was eventually able to look back (with the ever helpful ‘hindsight’) and see clearly why those things didn’t work, there were plenty of times that I wallowed. I asked why. I took it personally. And ok, I may have even had a dramatic moment or two, as in “Why me, God? WHY?” Let’s be honest. When you’re riding the sadness wave, trying to detach your heart, you can go to all kinds of dark places.
But here’s the thing I think I’m finally learning: People come into our lives and we may want them to stay forever. But isn’t it true that some people are only meant to be part of your life for a season? It can be so hard to see why they have to go, yet I think we sometimes try so hard to hold on, we lose the lesson in all the struggle. Instead of clinging, maybe what we need to do is just let go. And instead of suffering, maybe what we need to do is grow from the pain.
This most recent goodbye made me realize that I must still have something to learn about letting go. Truly, I don’t think it will ever be a strength, but why would I want it to be? I like this about myself. I like that I feel deeply, and that when I love it’s for keeps. I like that I can still fall in love, even though I have been hurt. Falling in love is a risky proposition, my friends. But, guess what? I can’t regret a moment I spent falling for this person, because loving him opened me up…and losing him did too. I am glad I invested my heart. I am glad I jumped in, took a chance, and let myself feel, let myself fall. After all, there isn’t much difference between falling in love and having a broken heart; both crack your heart open wide, let some light in, and give you an opportunity to grow.
I had to let go. Letting go was my only choice.
Except for, wait a minute. It WASN’T my only choice, was it? When it comes to love and attachment, we make all kinds of choices that aren’t healthy (refer to my list above). But that was the difference for me this time. It was the only choice I wanted to make. I needed to sit with the sadness, and the heartache, and the frustration. I recognize that to truly live we have to feel it all, the good and the bad. All those let go’s, they teach you something – if you let them.
Listen, we all get our share of heartache in this life. It comes in all forms, doesn’t it? Sadness is part of the deal. But suffering, that’s a choice. (Please note that I am not suggesting that say, a Syrian refugee is choosing to suffer. There are horrendous things happening in this world every day that cause suffering, and that’s not what I’m talking about here).
What I am talking about is taking your sadness, your heartbreak, your disappointment, and making the choice to feel those things without staying there. To move on …. but without the apology, without the closure, without necessarily understanding why. To let go, to learn, to grow, to know that shitty things don’t necessarily happen “for a reason”. Growing, changing, evolving, and releasing your grasp on “what should have been”, to make room for what can still be.