When my grandmother realized that she could no longer live alone and must leave the home where she had resided for almost seventy years, she did so without even a hint of resistance. Her only request from among the innumerable worldly possessions that filled her big rambling two-story house was an old Seth Thomas mantel clock, a family heirloom older than she that had been keeping time through every season of her long life. It was a modest petition and only fitting that they should remain together while she lived out this last of her seasons. So except for the old time piece my grandmother simply let everything else go without blinking an eye, a lifetime accumulation of worldly goods each with its own special memories. Thus, with the old clock ticking away in her small room, my grandmother’s final years were graceful ones as she grew deeper in faith, hope, peace, and love, sharing her wisdom with her beloved family whenever she could. It was her final gift to us.
Letting things go is not just a lesson about facing old age, though. It is a lesson for all of life; for it is only by letting go that we create space for new growth. A young entrepreneur who starts a successful business, for example, must sooner or later hire an employee or bring in a partner, and in doing so let go of some of his responsibilities, if not the business will fail to grow. A newlywed couple must relinquish some of their habits from the single life in order for their relationship to grow. Parents as their children mature must slowly let go of their grip so the child can grow into a responsible adult.
Letting go is not so much an act of will or courage as it is an act of faith and of hope. It is an act of faith in others to whom we relinquish, and it is also an act of faith in ourselves that in releasing control we are creating space for our own personal growth. And it is an act of hope, for hope is the belief that the future can and will be greater than the past. Through faith and hope we create freedom – freedom to let go, providing space to grow in knowledge and wisdom, in grace, peace and love, just like my grandmother did. When we do we are living in the image of God who did exactly the same thing when He created mankind.