Maybe it’s because my two daughters spent the better part of first days of summer vacation watching old movies; VHS tapes of themselves as infants and toddlers. First breaths. First baths. First smiles. First words. First steps. Maybe it’s because just days ago they boarded a plane with their dad and flew thousands of miles away from me – bound for nearly three weeks in Europe. First international trip. Our first extended stretch of time apart.
No matter the reason(s), I feel a bit graspy. I don’t want to let go. I’m stubborn that way.
I cling tenaciously to memories, to the demand that stories (mine and others’) go the way I want them to, to unrealistic expectations, to the hope for relationships that thrive and endure.
And here’s where I get into trouble. Relationships are all about letting go.
My pain-avoidant self cannot grasp this: the ache of constant separations – from my womb, my breast, my arms, my presence. Part of me wants my daughters to remain young, to cling to me like they used to, to hear my voice and instantly be calmed, to smile when they see me (vs. the current trend of rolling their eyes). But my wiser and more loving-self knows better. I must let them go. And I must trust that this is the only way in which our relationship can hope to thrive and endure.
Easier said than done.
It strikes me that this has application far beyond relationships with our children or others we love. It might just be the best practice we could employ in regards to relationship with God.
Letting go of God is the only way in which we will experience a relationship with God that is relevant, that makes sense, that endures.
- Letting go of religion steeped in patriarchy.
- Letting go of the idea that God is patriarchy embodied and therefore irrelevant to me as a woman.
- Letting go of guilt-based behavioral change.
- Letting go of anger, frustration, and resistance connected to religion, to scripture, to God.
- Letting go of dogma and structures that constrain and bind.
- Letting go of the experience of scripture steeped only in stories of men, violence, and harm.
- Letting go of binary places of black/white, right/wrong, good/bad, relevant/irrelevant.
Easier said than done.
Some of us would have to let go of the God of our youth and seemingly written-in-blood doctrines and creeds (which, truth-be-told, don’t hold quite the same meaning and relevance as they once did). Some of us would have to let go of our dismissal of God; our religiously-practiced way of not believing (which, truth-be-told, leaves us feeling a little adrift and often lonely). And all of us would have to let go of our mistrust and frustration with the other (which, truth-be-told, would be refreshing).
No matter where we sit on this spectrum, it is our “graspy”ness that keeps us from a relationship defined by trust – with God and with others.
What if instead of grasping, we could trust?
- Trust that we could come together and find beauty and grace in common.
- Trust that there is an understanding of the divine that could encompass and embrace a spectrum of beliefs and understandings that is as far as night from day.
- Trust that there is an experience of the divine that has no need to be bound by religion, church, or even Sacred Text.
- Trust that there is an understanding and experience of the divine that/who could actually be relevant, meaningful, alive.
- Trust that the divine exists, period.
Wouldn’t that be something?
May it be so.