I had often enjoyed her friendly wave and cheerful smile; she was on cloud nine when working in the yard with her husband.
Then one day a door wreath rustled in the wind; the love of her life was gone.
I passed her house each morning and observed her becoming increasingly frail.
This morning a moving van at the curb somberly punctuated the end of years of joy-filled days. The dear lady tottered across the lawn, surveying what had meant so much for so long—her home, trees, flowers; a myriad of memories parading behind misting eyes. I sensed that she was loading the last—and heaviest—item; her heart.
Where was she moving? To live with her children? To Assisted Living? To a different city, away from familiar faces and places?
Wherever, she was letting go of her freedom, and it hurt.
It hurts to let go of health. To cope with pain, anxiety, fear; to live with the burden of being a burden—dependent, confined, fragile.
It hurts to let go of prosperity. I saw a friend plummet from boom to bust in a matter of months, buried by circumstances beyond his control. He handled it well, but it hurt.
It hurts to let go of those we love—to say goodbye to a son or daughter moving across the country or being deployed to the other side of the world.
It hurts to let go when death’s merciless grip pulls a companion, parent, child, or friend away from us.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave,
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
—Edna St. Vincent Millay
Pain is rude. It doesn’t wait for an invitation to visit; it shows up unannounced, unexpected, unwanted. And refuses to leave.
Oh how it hurts to let go.
When things happen that hurt, we don’t need to feel guilty when we ask “Why?” do we?
Surely you know how badly it hurts to let go, for it had to hurt when you let go of your Son. It had to hurt when he let go of his heavenly home to live in earthly hovels; becoming poor that we might be rich.
Lord, do you have a word of encouragement for us when we’re hurting?
These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won’t last very long … this short time of distress will result in God’s richest blessings upon us forever and ever! … The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever (2 Cor. 4:17-18 TLB).
Thank you Father. That is what we needed to hear.