Tuesday, November 30, 2004

letting go...

There is a card that I used to have in my wallet that I got from a friend in high school. It had that catchy super-Christianized-culture phrase, "Let Go and Let God." In high school I really needed to hear that message. But I guess today I wouldn't mind sitting down with that little pocket sized proverb and have a little chat.

How exactly do I let go? Letting go is primarily a physical action. I can let go of the remote control. I can let go of a baseball. But used in this more ethereal advice it is more of a metaphysical metaphor than anything else. Letting go of something that is not physical has to do more with the mind and heart than it does the muscles in my arm.

I am still at a loss, however, when it comes to letting go of some things in my life. How do I let go of a hurt? How are we supposed to do that? Sure, we toss out phrases like, "Give it to God" or "Turn it over to Jesus" but those are no more helpful than "Let Go and Let God." One might as well tell me to "Leggo my eggo." If only we were dealing with waffles. But I am not trying to let go of breakfast. I am hanging out in the realm of hurts and expectations, memories and forgiveness, the past and the future. These are no more tangible than the Ghost of Christmas Present but they still feel more real than ever.

And does "letting go" mean forgiving and forgetting? Or does it just mean forgiving? Is the forgetting ever possible. And what of our expectations? What happens when we were expecting one thing from God and life and we get another? How valid are our expectations anyway? God was "supposed" to do this, but he has done something else entirely. Our loved one was supposed to be like this but they are someone different.

And what about being "hurt"? Is that the doing of someone else or the doing of ourselves? Are we supposed to give those close to us a "get hurt free" card whereby they are given the permission and power to hurt us at anytime for any reason?

Even our physical body has natural defense mechanisms. Our skin develops scabs to protect us from an immediate injury and calluses to protect us from prolonged pain. Our immune system is equipped to help guard us against viruses and bacterial infections that try to attack us from the inside out. Our muscles grow and develop after they are torn down from workouts. Our skin tans to protect us from the sun.

So why is it so bad to have emotional defense mechanisms? What is so wrong with guarding ourselves from the constant hurt that may occur in our lives? Or are we called by Christ to continue to open ourselves up to injury and assault? We turn the other emotional cheek. We go the extra mile. I know I don't want a heart that is cold and hard from calluses. But I also don't know if a bloodied soul makes for a healthy life.


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