Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Time to Let Go

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 "There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:
 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace."
~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

And there is a time that you have to let go.  That's a very hard statement for me.  Most anyone who has known me for any amount of time would attest that I am a very diligent person.  I do not give up easily on anyone.  In fact, I was usually the girl that got broken up with by my boyfriends even if I knew long beforehand that it was not a good relationship or had no future.  I always had hope that something could change - that I could make things different.  I never wanted to just give up on someone.  Needless to say, my heart has been broken many times in my 4+ decades of life!  But don't go feeling sorry for me, because I don't have regrets for my diligence.  I have learned many valuable lessons.  We all know hindsight is 20/20... and I can say looking back at some things in life that I held on a lot longer than I should have.  Whether it was to a job, a relationship, or even a pair of worn out shoes... I wanted to give each one more day to get better, stronger, improve, a chance to be different.  But I also have fewer regrets of wondering if I let go before there was a chance for something to get better.  This is a day of instant gratification, and people too easily walk away without putting any real effort into things.  They have a bad day at a job, and they quit or start looking for another job.  They have a disagreement with a friend, and the friendship ends.  Saddest of all, some people face those times of complacency that are to be expected in any long-term relationship (especially marriage), and they are out the door - either looking for another relationship before they even get out of the one they're in or just checking out altogether.  There is something to be said for sticking in there - fighting for something or someone. BUT then there is a time that you have to finally realize that it's time to let go.  And there are times that I do look back and see that I caused some extra damage (either to myself or those around me...including my children) because I was too persistent to hang on rather than let go of something that needed to be gone.

My Mom asked me one time when I was really being hurt by someone "What will it take for you to finally walk away?" and my response was, "When I know that it's the best choice to make all the way around, and that I will not have regrets on my side."  So what does that look like?  It's when I finally feel someone has crossed boundaries to a point that the damage is irreparable.  But an even quicker way for me to reach that point is for it to be adversely affecting someone else that I love.  Namely, my children.  (My blog before this one was about making a difference in someone's life... especially a child's life - and if you haven't read it, I'd love for you to go back and read it.  http://blog2.photographybydonnakay.com/2011/10/making-difference-in-someones-life.html )   Sometimes there should be no greater reason to actually let go of something (or someone) than the proof before you that it is damaging the life of a child to have that person around - and especially when it is your own child.  Yes - it will hurt to let go.  But it won't hurt as much, or as long, as having them around to continue to hurt you and to bring hurt on someone who deserves so much more.  

This morning I was in my car, and I was thinking about what I had written in this blog when Steven Curtis Chapman's song came on the radio.  The first verse and the chorus really struck me, almost as they did when the song first came out:

"She spins and she sways
To whatever song plays
Without a care in the world
And I'm sitting here wearing
The weight of the world on my shoulders

It's been a long day
And there's still work to do
She's pulling at me
Saying "Dad, I need you

There's a ball at the castle
And I've been invited
And I need to practice my dancing
Oh, please, Daddy, please?"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone..."

I saw Steven Curtis Chapman perform this song just a few months after his little girl was killed in a tragic accident... and his heart was so clearly broken.  But he had learned before it was too late to let go of things he had to let go of and take care of what was precious.  That's a lesson I hope I've learned... and one I wish I could share with others so they don't find out too late.