I recently got an opportunity to travel for work, and it was time to say goodbye to my 7-year-old.
I was to leave early the next morning so this was a bedtime goodbye.
I quickly realized this would not go well.
She was upset, anxious and beside herself. “Mama, can’t another pastor go? Why do you have to go?”
We talked about anxiety. We acknowledged her feelings. I smoothed her hair and rubbed her back.
It was time to stand up and leave her room. She wrapped those little arms around my neck and tearfully said, “Mama, don’t go. Stay here. I’m never letting go.” Oh, dear.
In this post-Easter season we can turn inward and look at our ways of being that don’t bring us life. We get curious about what’s filling us up in life and what’s draining us.
Many people during Lent before Easter give up something as a way to get in touch with their need for God or the Divine.
People give up everything from chocolate, social media or single-use plastics to gossiping, staying up late or fast food.
People are also invited to add in a new practice like journaling, daily scripture reading or a new form of prayer.
Letting go is rarely easy. Letting go is hard. It’s never as easy as Elsa makes it sound in the song from “Frozen.”
Even when you’ve heard it 523 times. Whether you’re a tearful child whose mom is leaving for a few nights, a parent watching a newly licensed teen driver walk out the door or holding the hand of someone in hospice care, letting go hits us where it hurts.
We realize, again, how little control we have in this life.
Letting go reminds us all our efforts to manipulate and coerce our lives into our pre-planned agenda is worthless.
Letting go takes practice. A few days ago, I was swimming laps at the Marysville YMCA and came to one of my favorite laps.
The one where I swim on my back and float down the lane with pretty minimal kicking. If you saw me, you might think I’m drowning or at least being pretty lazy.
But in reality, this has become one of my spiritual practices.
Floating invites me to trust the thickness of the water.
To give myself over to another force that supports my body.
My ears go underwater and sound softens. I memorize how my body feels in that moment. I am supported by something else. My body lets go.
Is there an area of your life where you need a deeper letting go?
Holding on to it is taking too much energy, too much time and is not filling you up.
Celebrate the ways you are letting go and trusting love to hold you. Name the ways you could reflect on letting go in a new way.
Love softly invites you to trust there is a force that longs to hold you in the places you no longer want to hold yourself.
Jenny Smith is pastor of Marysville United Methodist Church. Her faith column runs monthly.