The Minister’s Mind: Letting Go

This month’s “Soul Matters” theme is one that it seems like we human beings need to return to again and again. Even though we know that change is inevitable and resisting it is painful, we tend to get anxious when it’s happening to us. We’ve learned a lot from the Buddhists who know so deeply that it is our stubborn attachment and clinging that causes suffering, and yet…when the time comes to let go, we still have a hard time with it.  We need constant reminders to open our hands and let go. It takes too much effort and causes too much pain to stay stuck.

One of my favorite reminders is this poem by Jack Gilbert:

Failing and Flying

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It’s the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.

Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.

Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.

I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.

May each of us practice letting go. May we do so gently and celebrate our triumph.

You can find more resources on Letting Go (films, books, quotes, activities, questions…) in the Soul Matters packet here.

Love will Guide Us,

Rev. Sean



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