It's not easy letting things go: grudges, heartache, blame, denial, pain, mistakes, failure, insecurities, hate, disappointment, fear, shame, anger, pride, envy . . . the list is endless. We hold onto such things as though it were the driving force of life. We wrap ourselves up in them and find ourselves unwilling to lay aside our burden.
I've hung on to my self-justification for why I stayed mad, for why I couldn't reach my goals, for why I would not put down the burden. This is my personal revelation that the counsel "leave it alone" or "let it go" is often the most difficult to accept or execute, but it really is the only means to find inner peace and acceptance.
It brings to mind the story of a young man who found love, family and a new beginning. When tragedy knocked on his door with the loss of his wife, a new baby girl and a life now as a young, single father he directed his pain and anger toward the doctor who had failed to keep his wife alive. His grief festered and anger began to seep into every crack and crevice of his life.
One night a family friend called on this grieving, heartbroken young father. The words of comfort and counsel from the family friend was this: "John, leave it alone. Nothing you do about it will bring her back. Anything you do will make it worse. John, leave it alone."
The young father struggled with himself. He then decided that whatever else life brought to him, he would heed the counsel he was given.
Now, well into his years, the once heartbroken, young father related this story to a friend. "I was an old man, before I understood it!...I could finally see a poor country doctor--overworked, underpaid run ragged from patient to patient with little medicine, no hospital, few instruments, struggling to save lives, and succeeding for the most part. He had come in a moment of crisis, when two lives hung in the balance, and had acted without delay."
"I was an old man," he repeated, "before I finally understood! I would have ruined my life," he said, "and the lives of others."
Being able to leave it alone, or let it go takes practice and a lot of patience; two attributes that I often lack and need plenty of. But I recognize that it's a process of developing a whole new mindset...getting a better look at the whole picture instead of just snapshots. It can sometimes be a long, hard road before we reach that moment. Experience has shown me how my life becomes entangled when I refuse to leave it alone or let it go and I have felt the calmness in my life when I've chosen to follow John's example.