Kiss The Fiddler

Ramblings, moments of humor, random thoughts, experiences, insights, simple wisdom, and whatever else I feel like sharing.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Letting go

And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.  – Anais Nin

This rings true for me.  Over the past several months, the "tightness" I experienced around a particular story in my life became unbearable.  But the risk that it would take to excise or aire and heal the story was enormous, almost too much to bear.  I reached the point where this story ruled my conscious days and made unwelcome visits to my quiet nights.

With a friend, I planned a safe release.  I shared.  I cried.  She held me in safety.  And then, a week or so ago, we drove from Montana to the coast.  And midst many many tears and gut wrenching sobs, she helped me set a small fire and burn the items.  When the ashes had cooled and fire burned itself out, I walked into the surf and sent the ashes of the remnant items representing the story out to see.  I gave them back to God.  We commended them to the Deep.  And it felt finished.

My friend took me out to dinner and drove me back to where we were staying.  I don't remember going into the house but I remember lying on the bed, my friend sitting next to me talking softly.  She told me how courageous I'd been, how brave. . .  Suddenly, I didn't feel brave or courageous.  I felt small and sad and panicky.  Letting go is hard work.

After I let the panic and more tears wash over me, I slept.  I slept long.  It was nearly noon the next day when I awoke.  I'd expected to feel joy over my new freedom from carrying the burden of my story.  Instead I felt sad.  So, so sad.  I wanted the items back.  My heart felt empty without them.  I wasn't sure that God was carrying them for me.  What could I do?  Drive back to the coast, wade into the water and will bits of ash to gather in front of me?  Silly.  No, I'd let them go.  I had to keep letting them go, over and over again.  And it hurt over and over again.

In the days since, I've cried often.  I do feel lighter, freer.  And I feel sad.  I feel sad for the story.  Sad for me.  Sad for the "what" and "who" I was letting go of.  I find that I'm looking for a way to honor the enormity of what happened there next to the ocean that beautiful day.  I know I'll never forget.  I know I can't have "it" back.  I'm looking for a new sort of balance.  It really does feel like there's a hole in my heart where for so long I carried this story.  Now that the story has been given to God, I need to find something equally precious to put in that sore empty space.

How does one let go of something they've carried so close for so long?  I'm sure it's not a one time event.  Because daily I let it go.  Daily I "give it back".  It's hard to trust that a story I've protected for so long will be well cared for by some other than myself.  God ought to be big enough to handle it.  That's what I keep telling myself.

In the letting go, I found forgiveness.  Not necessarily from God although I'm sure God forgives me.  But I found forgiveness from myself.  For myself.  This forgiveness has been ever elusive for me and I've gone through contortions to try to find it - to allow myself to feel it.  And now I do.  Forgiving myself for my part in the story, forgiving myself for surviving, forgiving myself for the heaviness and the grief.  That has been the biggest gift so far of this letting go.  Which is not to say that I don't still grieve.  I do.  I will.  Over and over again, I'm sure.  But now it's different.  Now I can be free.

I know I haven't shared the story here.  I'm not going to.  I speak in vagaries and you might not understand what I'm saying.  I'm clearly talking "around" something big for me.  Let it be that.  I'm trying to write about my experience while protecting the sanctity of my story.

How do you let go?  How do you trust and move on?  How do I dare to take a step away, turn my back, move forward, and find it in me to trust?  I don't know.  I do it one breath at a time sometimes.  Sometimes one day at a time.  Sometimes one prayer at a time.  I ask for help.  I ask for Light.  And I take time to notice that life goes on.  Calves are being born.  Buds are swelling.  The laundry piles up.  Yes, life keeps going.  And I choose to join it, lighter, forgiven, and free.  With my memories and my tears.  But moving forward.


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