Holding On & Letting Go

Monday, May 26, 2014

When I first married this quote with this photo of our granddaughter, Elena, I did so simply because I thought they went well together.   This morning as I was laying in bed in that dreamy state that comes upon wakening but before we feel alert enough to get up, I got to thinking about this statement.  It was then that I realized how much it applies to in LIFE.

We hold on to "things", material things.... clothes we keep season after season but never actually wear.  We hold on to old "stuff" like nuts and bolts, the stuff in our junk drawers that came with things we've assembled, stuff we don't need but are convinced, "we might someday".    We hold on to things from our past that takes up space in our hope chests and closets, stuff that has sentimental value even if we never look at it.  Some stuff we hold onto is good stuff - old photos, our kids drawings, greeting cards from loved ones.  For all these things, there may be good reasons for hanging on.............and reasons to let go.

Then there's other stuff we hang on to, like memories.   Those may be good memories or they might be bad memories.  Sometimes those memories fuel our happiness and then there are those memories that only serve to upset us.  For example, it might be difficult for a widow to partake in an activity she once enjoyed with her deceased husband because the memories make it too painful to do or enjoy without him.  Sometimes memories remind us of a place or time that no longer exists.  I remember when our daughter and her family first moved to Indiana, it was so painful to see grandparents out with their grandchildren because it reminded me of when we had the joy of that experience.  Sometimes troubling experiences in our past make it difficult to let go and live without fear of those experiences reoccurring.  Our daughter was diagnosed as a Type I diabetic at ten months of age.   During her growing years and into her young adulthood she had many severe low blood sugars, some accompanied by seizures.  Those were difficult and trying times as parents.  Even today when she is much less brittle, whenever she is on the brink of being "low",  it is very difficult for me to just let her treat the low without feeling anxious and afraid that the treatment won't be fast enough and she might slip into a seizure.   This, of course, makes my daughter angry because I am over reacting and because it feels to her like I don't have confidence in her control over the situation.  Yet ..... my memories make it difficult to reprogram my response.

Other things we hang on to are things people have said or done that have hurt us.  Those things may have been yesterday, or they may have been years ago.  Yet some things stick to us like those stamps on our hands we get at events we attend - easy to go on and hard to remove.   I think the things that hurt us are the hardest to let go.  We can't change the past, and holding on to the those hurts and grudges doesn't lessen the pain they caused.  Yet we hold onto them as if placing them in a monument in our hearts will somehow prevent them from hurting us in the future.  While it might  remind us to be more careful with our feelings in the future, is that really how we want to live our lives, constantly on guard from possible hurts and disappointments?  It reminds me of those dating years when we had our first real, heart shattering break-up and thought we'd never love again because we could never live through the pain again.   Thankfully we let go of that pain and tried again.

I'm sure if you think about it, you can think about many more examples of what hanging on and letting go means in your life.  What I propose we do is consider which of those things we hang on to are really worth the effort and perhaps the discomfort it causes to hang on.   Is your life happier, more content, more calm with clenched fists and fear?   Maybe so, but maybe not.  Today, let go of something that isn't enhancing your life and hang on.....like it really matters (because it does) to the things and people who do!
This is my husband's old bike.....which he's saving.....for something.
Post Script:  Some time after this post was written, my husband donated his bike to the Hemmings Motor News Museum in Bennington VT.

Thank you for allowing me to share by photos and thoughts with you!  And Have a Great Day!!!

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