Sunday, June 3, 2012


The other day, I was in church and had the following conversation with God:

"Fine. Whatever."

It was not a defiant statement accompanied by an eye roll and an attitude of "You may be getting Your way, but only because I can't get my way, NOT because Your way is best." Nor was it a beautiful, holy moment of embracing God's will in an attitude of "I love You so much that even getting poked in the eye with a spork is wonderful and beautiful and worth it if it is in Your plan."

It just was.

I can't adequately describe what I was feeling, because I wasn't feeling much of anything.  I guess you could say it was a moment of detachment.  It didn't feel like a really good thing or a really bad thing, it just was.

In that moment, my hopes, dreams, and wishes didn't change.  I was just able to let go of them a little. It's a scary proposition. Every time I've tried to let go, I would see each of my heart's desires as a balloon in a helium balloon bouquet. "Letting go" completely meant watching my hopes float away, never to be seen again- except perhaps by a passerby as a deflated piece of trash littering the ground.

But maybe letting go is something a little different.  A couple of weeks ago, I helped some beginner rock climbers learn some of the systems involved with climbing. They climb desperately clinging to ever little hand hold they can find. When they get to the top, they naturally are ready to come down, so they give the command that we have taught them, "Ready to lower."  Half the time, we have to tell them they are not ready to lower.  They have to let go of the rock first.  I know I had to be told that the first time I climbed.

It's uncomfortable up there.  Your only slight sense of control over gravity and the 50+ feet of air beneath you comes from solidness of a good hold under your hands.  Letting go feels like giving gravity the upper hand. Most beginners are able to let go, but they still have to be coaxed into leaning back to let the harness and the rope take their weight. Some will actually get stuck at the top, too afraid to let go. It's understandable. In letting go, they have to give up their control, trusting that they will not fall; if they are wrong in their trust, they will fall to their death. In contrast, a climber with a little more experience gets to the top and stands back with their feet on the wall and all their weight leaning back on the rope.  They trust the system of the rope, the harness and their belayer.  They know that they can count on that system to keep them safe from death.

I'm sure I've used that analogy before, but there it is.  I am learning that letting go means trusting God to safely take care of my hopes and dreams, rather than me clinging to them with all the strength I can muster in my fingertips. It does not mean watching them float off into oblivion.

The thing is, that moment of detachment was nice, but it also felt a little like death.  Reading well-written mommy blogs and giving up on the absolute need to one day have that in my life means a sort of death. Traveling with my family and not spending time and energy hoping it will be my last solo trip home feels sort of like death.  Hearing pregnancy announcements and not wondering when (if!) it will be my turn is a sort of death.  Letting go and saying "Your will be done- even if that means never being the wife and mother that I've always wanted to be" is death.

I was slightly depressed about that until the other night.  I was lying in a sleeping bag in a little tent.  The cool breeze was perfect, the fresh scent of pine was heavenly, but the noisy neighbors kept me from sleeping.  Instead of stewing about the fact that I needed to sleep so I could get up early for my hike the next day- and, SERIOUSLY, how can people be so rude!- I decided to pray a rosary.*  It was Friday, so I picked the Sorrowful Mysteries.  In thinking about the events of Christ's passion and death, I realized something strange.  For the last 3-4 years of being single, I have identified so much on some level of each of the mysteries, different mysteries in different phases of waiting. In the agony in the garden, I recognized the agony of being alone in pain while those around me seemed oblivious and sleeping. In another phase, I recognized the unrelenting scourging at the pillar, feeling your life drain away, but the emotional blows keep coming without letting up.  In the carrying of the cross, recognizing that this crazy, heavy cross of waiting was mine to embrace, even when I fell and couldn't stand under its weight, much less carry it. And, yes, there have been times of dying and feeling the abandonment of even God Himself.

But at this moment of my journey, I didn't feel a connection with any of the sorrowful mysteries. I prayed during each mystery for those that were agonizing and dying in their suffering right then, but it's not me right now. Nor could I identify with the joyful mysteries of His early life, nor the light of his public life, nor the glory of His resurrection. I finally realized where I was.  Detachment is death. I am with Him in the tomb. It sounds morbid, but it's not. It's a wonderful place to be. Letting go allows to quiet and rest in the cool stillness. We wait there together, between the sorrow and the glory. Death to self and dreams will eventually lead to new life in Christ.  I don't know how long the three days of waiting will be, and I don't know what that new life will look like. But I believe that it will happen, and if it's what He wants, it will be wonderful, with or without my dreams.

Fine, God.  Whatever.**

*I also thought about being a little extra loud while breaking camp in the wee small hours of the morning when we left for our hike. Hey, just because I was praying a rosary doesn't mean I'm that holy.

**Any type of surrender is something that occurs by degrees and is not so much a linear process. Me writing this today doesn't mean that I won't be crying about stuff tomorrow.


  1. This is awesome and beautiful and describes so much of how I've been feeling off and on lately. Only, it seems that as soon as I start to loosen my grip, something causes me to grab back on immediately....I think I will pray about this time in the tomb with Christ.

    And your ** - I so get it. Sometimes, after I've talked about a good day or a good realization, I feel like I can't then write about bad days because it would make the "good" somehow seem untrue. But it's so true - there is no linear continuum in any of goes back and forth, sometimes by the minute.

  2. beautifully written..."between the sorrow and the glory"...there is something that I will be pondering for a while. Love you friend - and praying for you always!

  3. WOW. Detachment. Together in the tomb. I imagine you'll laugh to hear me say this, but your level of spiritual maturity blows me away sometimes.

  4. This is beautiful and eloquent and amazing. And your ** is so absolutely true. Just, wow.

  5. My favorite lines: "Letting go allows to quiet and rest in the cool stillness. We wait there together, between the sorrow and the glory. Death to self and dreams will eventually lead to new life in Christ."
    The detachment and giving it all up to God is the HARDEST PART! I know He will take care of me, but it's got to be the darn human nature that trips me up every time.
    And I know what you mean about emotions changing daily. :-)

  6. Sometimes not feeling anything is a nice break, as odd as it seems. I like the analogy of being with Jesus in the tomb. And I liked your first * also...guess I'm not that holy either huh?

  7. Beautiful post!
    The past couple of years the part of the Trid which has most deeply pulled at me has been Holy Saturday ~ so much to ponder ~ and you have now given me so much more food for thought.

  8. Absolutely awesome post! I am always so inspired by your posts. And after my last post, this post really helps. I love your insight and your humor at the end.

  9. I really needed to read that! Thank you for allowing yourself to be vulnerable on here, this post really touched my heart.

  10. I love this. Learning to let go of the things I cannot change and embrace life for what it is rather than whatever I was told it should be or whatever I wish it could be, has made such a big difference in how I see the world.

  11. Beautiful post. Your are right... letting go of these things is a bit of a death. I had to grieve my fertility as I approached 40 -41-42.... and it took a friend to tell me that what I was doing was grieving. I just felt miserable and wanted to die --- until she made me realize, I was grieving. Grieving the hope, the potential of having a child - of ever experiencing pregnancy - of ever allowing my body to fulfill it's destiny as a woman.

    I do feel much better now that I have let that go (although I have a harder time letting go of the idea that I might have a husband some day) But what is discouraging is that if I share that with someone (say a man I'm dating) that I've let go of the dream of having a child, that I'll accept God's will either way --- they feel compelled to tell me not to feel that way. Um, thanks, that's helpful!
    Danged if you do, danged if you don't!!!