Hanging On While Letting Go

DSC00650Life, it seems to me, is predominantly about letting go; letting go of the warmth and protection of the womb, the nourishment of the umbilical cord; letting go of the breast, the cooing and coddling of childhood; of innocence, of youthful dreams, teenage certainty; letting go of the security of home, the assuring reliance on family, of the energy and enthusiasm we can only vaguely recall as, despite our protestations and denials, we enter midlife; letting go of our parents when they are too old to give any more and then again when they die; of friends who’ve changed in ways we can’t understand or accept, or who haven’t kept pace with our own changes; letting go of the irreclaimable joy of our infant children and then letting go again and again as they forge their own long path of leaving and letting go; letting go as they move on without us and letting go of our health, of the illusion of control, of the fragile façade of dignity in illness and old age; letting go as we realize that everything we’ve cared about has left or been left behind and letting go of the little we have left to hold on to because we finally understand that we’re already alone and irrelevant and there’s nothing to lose in the final letting go but pain, disappointment, habit, and the tiny fragment of resistance that has somehow survived.

Yes, this is a disheartening way to look at life, but if it is true, if life is as grim, depressing, and seemingly meaningless as I’ve portrayed it here, isn’t there something brave, even noble in living it as well, as honestly, as generously, passionately, and richly as we can? To struggle to live a good, productive life in the face of all of that, is courageous and noble. To do otherwise, is to discard like a handful of debris what may be life’s sole opportunity for transcendence.

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2 Responses to “Hanging On While Letting Go”

  1. Jo

    I don’t think that is depressing at all, rather just a perspective of the journey… still, nicely done. But, GOD, don’t drop that baby!


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