Change transforms us and invites resurrection.
One month ago, I was invited to facilitate a presentation about Tough Conversations to the young women of the Zeta Zeta chapter of Alpha Sigma Alpha in Warrensburg, MO. I learned yesterday that the lives of two of their sisters were tragically cut short as a result of a fatal car accident. The conversation I planned on providing a week ago will be different from the dialogue we will experience next week.
Amy is a member of the Zeta Zeta chapter. Amy lost two friends in one moment that cannot be reeled back in.
Amy is an Alpha Sigma Alpha legacy. She is my niece. She belongs to the same sorority at the same college I attended more than 30 years ago.
Time changes us. So do events. So does death.
When someone we love moves from this life into the next, we are heartbroken. Grief-stricken. And changed. One of the most agonizing decisions we make occurs when we release our grip on what was and, through gentle acceptance, allow the process of healing to begin so we can accept what is.
We let go.
She Let Go is a poem composed by Rev. Safir Rose. I include it here to honor the lovely lives of Erin Hook and Jennifer Reeder. And to the women of Alpha Sigma Alpha who lost their sisters. To Jennifer’s and Erin’s families. To their friends. And to all of the families who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
She Let Go.
She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear.
She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the “right” reasons.
Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice.
She didn’t read a book on how to let go.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word.
She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort.
There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore …
When we let go, we step into what Melody Beattie calls the in-between – that space where all that was familiar is in the past and what will be lies somewhere in an unfamiliar future.
“To prepare ourselves for the new, we need to first let go of the old. This can be frightening,” explains Beattie in The Language of Letting Go. “We may feel empty and lost for a time. We may feel all alone, wondering what is wrong with us for letting go of the proverbial bird-in-hand, when there is nothing in the bush.”
The present can be scary, especially after a loss, because it often demands we use skills we do not have, wisdom we do not want, and resources we lack. This stage invites us into an arena where we find skills and wisdom and resources to take with us on our journey. We bring our memories – a virtual scrapbook of lived experiences – with us. And we are never the same again. Changed. Transformed.
The Greeks refer to this soul-transformation as metanoia. A change of heart. When we find the courage and willingness to let go of what was and move into acceptance of what is possible, we stand on holy ground. We are lit from within by the torch passed to us by those we have loved who are no longer with us. Legacy. Pentecost.
When life changes your direction and alters your course, you don’t have to have all of the answers. You don’t have to know how to move forward. You only have to be brave enough to take the next step.
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