Letting Go – October 2015 Theme
We are a People of Letting Go – A message from Rev. Suzelle Lynch
Letting go. That’s our Soul Matters theme for October. Letting go is a deep practice, and a challenging one! Imagine the “daring young man on the flying trapeze…” To succeed, he must swing out, let go, and trust that he will fall into the well-practiced arms of his flying partner.
Few of us do trapeze work, but we’re all in the same boat – letting go, committing ourselves to fly, and trusting that life will meet us and not let us fall. Letting go is how we grow, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. It’s also what churches need to do to grow – we must let go of what we are now to become what we long to be.
Here’s another way to think about it via a little story.
Once upon a time there was a very old man who lived for all of his long and happy life on a beautiful island. His family had lived there well for generations.
On his last day, the old man asked his sons to take him outside. There, he knelt down and gathered a handful of the soil of his beloved island, holding it tightly. When death came a few hours later, he was still holding the precious soil.
When the old man arrived at the gates of heaven, angels welcomed him warmly. But when he tried to cross the threshold, he could not. The angels said, “Sir, if you would come in, you must let go of what you hold in your hand.” The man replied, “Oh, no, I cannot. This is the soil of my home – the earth which nurtured me and which holds all my beloveds. To let it go would mean losing them all.” And so the old man remained outside the gates. The angels visited him from time to time, and although he wanted to join them, he still could not let go of the soil.
After many years, the angels returned with the old man’s granddaughter. She, too had grown old and died. “Oh, grandpa,” she said. “I’m so happy you are here! Please come and join us in heaven. We love you so much!”
The old man was overcome with joy. He flung out his arms to embrace her, and the precious soil slipped away. His granddaughter took his hand, and guided him through the gates. And there on the other side were all the people he loved, the whole of his beloved island, waiting for him.
I don’t know about you, but I have spent much of my life being afraid to let go – and then somehow, some way, and sometimes against all odds, doing it anyway. Sometimes I have fallen, far more often, when I leap, I discover that there are arms to catch me.
Letting Go of Things: A Soul Matters Practice for October
In keeping with our Soul Matters monthly theme, “A People of Letting Go,” consider the spiritual practice of decluttering.
Marie Kondo, author of the international bestseller, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, helps us see cleaning up clutter in a new light. It’s not about eliminating mess; it’s about letting in joy and creating space in which our spirits can breathe. The author’s challenge to all of us is this: “Anything that doesn’t “spark joy” is to be touched, thanked and ceremonially sent on its way!”
Kondo began communing with her belongings in a loving way when she was in high school and, after years of work at a Shinto shrine, realized her calling was to be a consultant to help others attain the joy of minimalism.
“The inside of a house or apartment after decluttering has much in common with a Shinto shrine ... a place where there are no unnecessary things, and our thoughts become clear,” she says. “It is the place where we appreciate all the things that support us. It is where we review and rethink about ourselves.”
How to take this challenge: