Holding all things .... loosely
I want to preface everything I’m about to say by noting that I am the most fortunate of humans. I live in the richest country in the world, and, even though I may or may not agree with what goes on here, I’m free to talk about it. I have a rewarding job that helps many in this delightful little town in which I live, and a husband and family who love me. I have good friends both near and far. I have plenty to eat, live in a house with all the amenities and in general, am blessed in every way.
That doesn’t mean it all goes well for me, all the time.
Just recently, I’m being shown that it’s necessary to hold all things in my life loosely. That I might never know in the morning what the evening is going to look like.
Many years ago now, while my husband was very ill, I would drive to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center every morning. A big comfort to me was a song by English crooner Matt Redman, called “10,000 Reasons.” One of the lines in the chorus of that song resonated with me then, and still does to this day.
“Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me, may I be singing when the evening comes,” Redman sings.
I have attempted to live my life by that principle, loving life, my family, my friends and all the good things with which I’m blessed, and not worrying too much about what’s just around the bend.
Sometimes it’s hard. Just recently, I’ve had some exercises in letting go.
My husband and I planned a vacation, as we love to do, around our fall anniversary. For a long time, I looked forward to that. As the time drew near, however, it was clear that a virus my husband was suffering from was showing no signs of leaving. Because it was in some ways a two-part vacation, we had to cancel it not once, but twice. It was hard, and, even though our “staycation” was fun, of a sort, it wasn’t what we’d planned and looked forward to.
I know. I know. It’s definitely a First World problem.
Recently, I was having a cup of coffee after my morning workout, and the lyrics of Redman’s song came to me again.
Oh, oh, I thought. I’ve been here before. I was anticipating trouble.
And I got it. That day, one of my sons developed a severe infection that actually endangered his life. My other son was in a crash on Interstate 81.
It’s one thing to hold a vacation lightly. It’s quite another to hold your children’s lives lightly.
I can’t do it.
Not only that, we had to give up our plans for Thanksgiving because we didn’t want anyone else exposed to our son’s infection. Instead, Thanksgiving was, well, low-key.
And yet, I know all things happen for a reason. There’s a purpose in our lives and what happens to us makes us stronger somehow to accomplish that purpose or to help another. God promises that He is always with us, and that His plans for us are good, even if they don't seem that way to us.
So I’m working very hard on holding things lightly. All things. In reality, I didn’t have any control anyway. I couldn’t stop that person from rear-ending my son on the highway. And I couldn’t stop the infection that made my other one so sick. I am not in charge.
I’d love to say that I’ve come to terms with the seeming capriciousness of life, and that I’ve become expert in letting go and trusting my faith to get me through.
That would be a lie.
But I’m working on it.
If you are struggling with what life has thrown at you, we can help. At Sanctuary Christian Counseling we help grieving individuals, distressed teens and couples in conflict find peace, solutions and connection.
Give us a call.
Sanctuary Christian Counseling
9974 Molly Pitcher Highway, Suite 4
Shippensburg, PA 17257
[For the curious, both my sons are ok as of this writing!]