Sometimes we just need to let go

In his book, “The Holy Longing,” Fr. Ron Rolheiser talks about the importance of letting go of something we love so that it can bless us. He uses the image of the Ascension to illustrate his point. It’s as if the child about to be born were to grab onto its mother’s body. If the child refused to leave the womb it would die. In letting go, however, the child is freed to experience life in a new way. It seems simple, but sometimes …

It all happened so fast. One minute Tom was working at his desk and the next he was in his boss’s office being informed that the company no longer needed his services. At first it all seemed like some kind of bad dream. For the next week or two Tom even continued to go to work in order to finish a project the boss had asked him to tie up before he left. But every day brought him one day closer to being without a job and gradually the reality of the situation began to settle in. Tom talked to friends, searched job sites and submitted his resume when anything seemed even a little promising, but there were no offers. Nobody was hiring. And that’s when he decided. He would start his own company. It had always been his dream to set out on his own; now he would do it.

And so he did. Tom contacted a couple of his friends and they agreed to give it a try. That was three years ago. Today the company employs four full-time people and business is booming. Recently Tom ran into his old boss at a local restaurant and he thanked him for giving him the push he needed to start his own business.

“Release and bless.” A spouse dies; a child marries; a close friend moves away; endings – and beginnings. We cannot begin the new until we have let the old go so that it can bless us. What do we need to let go of? How can it bless us?

Van Benthem is a member of the Secular Franciscan Order and a longtime pastoral minister, retreat leader, spiritual director and published writer and poet.