My son had just completed his sophomore year at CMR High School. He was sitting in front of the screened fire pit on my back patio. His Mom sat beside him, and I was sitting directly opposite, watching him as he glanced at each homework assignment completed through the past year – English Composition, Marketing, Geometry – and then crumpling each one into a ball and tossing it into the fire. You could see by the look on his face that he hadn’t liked Geometry, but had some good memories of the stories he had written in English Composition. Marketing was fairly neutral. But each time he threw another piece of the past into the fire, his face brightened a bit more and he relaxed a bit more. It wasn’t long before he was laughing as he crumpled and threw, crumpled and threw. “What is making you so happy?” I asked.
“Dad, you have to learn to let go.”
From 1st Corinthians: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away the things of a child.”
I grinned at my son, knowing he was right. My dog, Bitsy, ran up just then and looked up at me. Bitsy had come into my life in a relationship I had with a beautiful woman. I had thought I had found a new love in my life! But it wasn’t the woman – I had let her go – but not easily – and my son had watched me anguish over the times things hadn’t turned out as expected or hoped. The timing hadn’t been right. But I had inherited a new real love. Bitsy had unexpectedly become mine!
“You have to learn to let go.” That lesson came clearer as my son kept throwing old tests into the fire.
I looked over towards his Mom. We had fallen in love and had a child! And we had some rough times that eventually ended in divorce. Expectations and hopes and dreams that hadn’t turned out as imagined. It had taken some time to let go of the hurt on both sides of the relationship. Yet, here we were, sitting together watching our son cleansing his past so that he could start new. I smiled and she noticed.
“Nothing funny,” I said. But I was lying. It was funny and unexpected this moment we were sharing together. “I may be learning here,” I said, and pointed at our son. She grinned. I had always liked her smile.
“You have to learn to let go.”
This past weekend I attended a Writers’ Workshop! Yes! I sat a table along with fellow authors and shared as part of a panel discussion…. As an AUTHOR! I had two books in front of me at my table, testimony to title “Author.” I had written the manuscripts in 2004 and 2005. I had submitted them to publishing houses and received rejection letters. I had kept the letters in a file. I put the manuscripts in a box. A long time went by before I got the manuscripts out and dared to self-publish the books. I had held on to the idea that they weren’t good enough – that I wasn’t good enough. Now, people read them and like them and say “Thanks for sharing.” I might never have touched the lives of so many people had I not published them! I might never have touched that part of me, either. I was still learning the lesson:
“You have to learn to let go.”
Author Steve Maraboli says this: “The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”
Learn to let go. Let go easily. Let go often. Let go of the things that seem to upset you. Let go of the past experiences whose residual emotions can hold such sway.
“Let go… and let’s GO!”