We had a momentous occasion at our house this week. A car transport pulled up at 7:30 in the morning and took away a car that my husband had purchased almost 40 years ago. As I write it's on its way to Oceanside, CA...to its new owner. Many parts and pieces that never got attached went along with it, including a OEM bumper sitting in the passenger seat. It never occured to me that this day would come. I sometimes wondered if I'd find a note attached to his Last Will and Testament with instructions for him to be buried in that car! We are both at that place in life when we're wondering what to "hold on to" and what to "let go of."
Many conversations have taken place leading up to this major letting go. As we face into retirement we've begun to plan on where we'll live and what we'll take with us. Over the almost 24 years of our marriage we've managed to collect a lot of stuff -- in addition to what we both brought into this union. Sam took the first brave step of shedding. Mine will be to cull my books down to less than 60 moving boxes full that I've dragged from state to state.
It's been a bittersweet decision for him, filled with highs and lows. How fortunate that someone found us and wanted this little automotive pride and joy. How sad that the time was never found to do the work on it that he'd hope to do for so long. How great to have a place in the garage for each of our cars now. How sad to open the door and not see the dust cover that protected his youthful treasure. I could go on.
In a real sense holding on and letting go is a spiritual task. And it's something we do each day. Each day we decide: will I hold on to this thing, this feeling, this value, this path, this emotion, this decision...or will I let it go? Each day we choose: Is this_______________ (fill in the blank) worth my time and attention now...or is it something I ought to let go? We make these choices daily, moment by monent sometimes, though their ramifications aren't always as big as a car transport showing up.
Yet in each holding on and in each letting go, we reveal who we are at the core of our being. In each choice, we learn to become more and more the truth of who we were uniquely created to be. We learn how God intends to use us in the life of those he's placed around us. We learn how we truly receive love and acceptance. We learn what it means to be full of peace, spirit and joy. Hopefully we come to learn that the stuff (no matter how beloved) isn't as important as people and relationships. Cars and books don't sustain us finally--Love does--Love does.
Recently I've been re-reading Wayne Mueller's SABBATH where he reminds us that while knowledge at its core adds something to us, wisdom's task is always to take something away. Wisdom in other words, is about getting to that which is essential. Think about that for a moment.
It seems that one spiritual task for this season of my life is to choose wisdom and its accompanying losses. Not in some somber or macabre way, but in a way that gives life. It's the Gospel life, lived in each of us that says: "unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it bears no fruit." It's following the Christ who laid down His life, so that all could live. Christian mystics always taught that the path of letting go or relinquishing, ends up leading us to wholeness.
May the hands of your holding on soften. May Wisdom lead you to what is essential. May you find wholeness in Love. With much Peace and Joy, Kathleen Bronagh Weller, THE CELTIC MONK