After many years and obstacles the Holy Grail is found by Indiana. There is a cost though, his father was shot in the process. The Grail is used to save him. It does. It can also give eternal life but there is a catch. The Grail cannot leave the place it was found. Indiana tries to take it with him anyway. He is hanging on to a cliff with his father clinging on to one of his hands and the other hand reaching for the Grail. He almost has it but doesn't realize how close to death he is. And then his father says, "Indiana, let it go."
Easy for Sean Connery to say.
Not so easy for us. Well, I shouldn't speak for you.
Not easy for me.
To let go. To relinquish control. To set someone or something free.
To wave the white flag.
Now this theme of letting go has surrounded us all for awhile thanks to the marketing genius of Disney and the power anthem from the movie Frozen. And if you don’t know what I am talking about consider yourself lucky. In Disney land letting go is a final victory. A big musical crescendo.
But I don’t think that letting go is that easy.
It just doesn’t look like an animation sing a long.
It is hard.
For some letting go is a situation that you are making worse instead of just letting things play out.
For some that means letting go of your terms and conditions.
For some it is a person or a job that you want so badly that it hurts but you know there is nothing you can do.
For some it is the death of a dream. Something you wanted badly but it didn't pan out.
Or the death of a relationship, or special time in life.
Or you lost someone really special.
Or a desire. Surrendering the very thing we want most of all.
That last one is hard. You may have years of yearning behind you. Years of wrestling, years of hoping only to come to the end of story and find the prince didn't come. You just have a shoe in your hand and bits of pumpkin on your shirt.
You have watched others have a baby, get the job, get the relationship, get the house, the body, the money, the promotion, the good fortune, the dream, the Holy Grail.
You were left at the station.
So what happens when nothing happens?
I remember that tonight. I am sitting on a park bench near the place I went to college. I came here to remember something that I lost. Although I probably never really had it if I were honest. And years ago I had to let it go. And I did. But it hurt.
And all these years later specifics have changed by the desire has not.
The dream remains deferred.
Now I know there are those out there that are screaming at the screen saying Wait!" The story isn't over yet. There is still hope!"
Yes, you are right. There is the George Bailey version of this story. Where you get to the end and realize you have a wonderful life. That the greatest thing you can ever really want you already have. It is a nice warm story. It is about illumination. Gratitude.
And I know the other story too. The couple that finally stopped trying conceived. The time when she or he stopped looking and that is when he or she showed up. The rejection at work that lead to the dream job. The let go that lead to the wow.
But here is the catch. To really let go, you have to let go of those stories too. Because sometimes, it is hard to admit but true, sometimes those stories don't happen.
Sometimes things happen that shouldn't happen and the things that should happen don't.
We live in a world of Charleston, Syria, disease, war, brokenness.
We live in a world where justice doesn't always show her face this side of heaven.
Where many follow after a rabbi who is called the man of sorrows and who died young.
Where many people fought good fights and died without ever making it into the promise land.
We live in a world of suffering. Of pain. Of sorrow.
And in this place is the hardest thing to let go of.
To let go, to fully surrender to God or that which is greater than you, is to let go of why.
We want some sort of answer so we can heal. Some sort of reason. We really do.
And if we let go of the why we may get the happy ending or the reason.
We may not.
We aren't guaranteed any outcome or an answer.
Sometimes the answer is silence.
We need to let go of the question.
To let go is awful and feels like hollowing wind ripping through your heart. It is hollow. The thing that was taking up space is gone.
You can choose not to let go. There is a problem though.
What you are holding on to is already gone.
Which brings me back to the bench.
I need to let go of something else too. Something I thought would happen but it didn't. Something that I thought would turn out well but it hasn't.
I remember the day I began this journey. The dream given was unexpected. Out of the blue. I was so disoriented that I even fell and sprained my finger. To this day I can't make a full fist with my left hand. The middle finger appears to be now slightly deformed. Unable to bend properly. A tangible reminder of a specific dream that didn't happen. (Is it ironic it is the middle finger?) It is a wound of a battle that I lost. I had to wave the white flag.
And more than that, not only do I need to let go of the specific dream. I need to let go of the dream itself.
If I am hanging on, how am I ever going to learn how to trust?
If I am hanging on, how am I ever going to receive any gift? Whether it is the gift I want or not?
If I am hanging on how am I going to keep on journeying wherever the path may lead if I don't keep up with the shepherd?
Let it go my father says.
So here is to flag waving. The I surrender kind.
Here is to the tears that follow.
And there are tears. Really big fat ugly tears.
Funny though, as I sit here on this park bench.
I just heard church bells in the distance.
What are the bells for? A wedding? A funeral? Just the passage of time? Are they mournful or hopeful? Or both?
Looks like I have to get off the bench to go find out.