Where does the time go? The days can be long sometimes but the years are short, and getting shorter. Here I am in the middle of my life ( or somewhere thereabouts) … and contemplating what the next half ( or less) might bring. I know for certain that it will bring lots of changes and many chances to practice letting go.
Letting go of my teenage daughter, as she grows up before my eyes… a beautiful flower unfolding toward the warmth of whatever the Lord has in store for her. She has her wings and she is “in training,” testing (and testing some more) the limits of all the possibilities that lay before her.
I am also letting go of my mother, who is slowly fading, day by day, into the shadows and mind mist that is age-related dementia. I can still see her outline, but I cannot recognize the blank face that stares back at me. I hear her voice, but her words no longer hold the power over me that they once did. They are muddled words, repetitive and childlike. I wonder where she has gone, even while she is still here.
There is a part of me that wants to “pull the covers up” over my life and bury myself in the memories of yesterday: some of them good and some of them not. If I could turn back time to the night before my father slipped into a coma… that night when he called me from the hospital and asked me to bring him a candy bar, I would. Exhausted after five months of running back and forth and torn by the need to take my daughter to someplace important at the time, I begged off. It would be our last conversation before it was time for me to let him go for good.
I would love to go back and visit my 6 year old self. The one smiling and posing dutifully by the tree with the Nurse Nancy outfit on in a photograph I remember so well. One moment captured out of a long and lonely childhood. I can still remember the terror behind that smile. I would love to go back and tell her that she was a beautiful and precious girl, even though she didn’t feel like it and that the affirmation and love that she craved was nothing to be ashamed of. I would love to tell her, and I guess in a way I have, that everything would be ok in the long run.
And here I am in the midst of that long run, still living, still loving, and still learning how to let go. There is one thing for sure that I will never let go of, though, and that is the hand of God that has led me here. It’s a hand full of grace, mercy, tenderness and strength. It is a firm hand that has guided me and carried me and comforted me in ways that I could never have imagined. He is the reason why living, loving and letting go is even possible for me because I know where I am going next.
So time goes where it goes, I guess, but God is forever standing still…deep within my soul and yours. He is waiting, He is whispering and He is willing to love us without ever letting go. A few days ago I came across a very old and stale candy bar, hidden in the back of my desk, wrapped up in a tissue. It was a Milky Way, and I remembered. .. my father’s last request.
If you have gotten this far in reading this, I just want to say this: that God can even turn our regrets into something quite beautiful if we let Him. He can soften the blows in life that knock the wind out of us and He can heal the heartaches that threaten to pull us under. Don’t be afraid to trust him when it is time to let go.
Joyfully Yours... Anne Costa