Let all the rest go

I listened to him, commiserating. I know him to be a good and loving parent. I listened to this worn out man swear he would never travel with his kids again.

I listened bout a Christmas time flight and two wee small children who had a hard time on the plane, and just how very hard it was. Small children excited about Christmas and Santa and grandparents and presents and cousins, parents who were tired from a long week, luggage and flight delays and I think you have a perfect storm of hard times.

I have no stories of commiseration. Any stories I would have would be from the other side, the weary passenger who listens to the children on the flight. This wasn’t going to make him feel better.

A thing I have come to know profoundly.

And I sometimes want to say that: to speak the one profound truth I learned in those 30 minutes with my son. These days, these hard and busy full days with small children who will not sit quietly, they will speed past. In the middle of these moments are the ones you hold on to. In the middle of this are the moments of mind blowing amazement.

It is the work of a whole life, of all our lives to know this. To know that in the middle of the hurly-burly and the frustration there are these moments of brilliance, these moments that if we look for them will change and mark our lives.

It has taken me all of these years to know this. To take away the pain and the horror of all that time and all that pain. To separate his death and how he gasped for his very breath and hold on to that single solitary second when I stared at his hands and saw my crooked finger and his tiny, perfect nails. It has taken staring at the photos, turning the memories over in my mind for years now, to hold on to the moment when I held my son and sang him a lullaby. To hold on to that moment and let all of the rest go.

If I could say anything, I would say that. In the worst and most trying circumstances the universe schooled me in the art of holding on to the holy, the blessing, of finding the benediction and letting all of the rest go.

I talk about my son too much, even still. I make people uncomfortable and I actively work on stopping, not entering those conversations, biting my tongue, obscuring and obfuscating. I am failing at it.

But if I could do anything – I would whisper this. I held holiness in my arms, saw and lived and  breathed a form of sacrament. When I let all of the hurt and the pain go, I can tell you this. I cannot commiserate with over tired children on a plane. I don’t know it.

I know this, I have learned a single splendid truth, I know it in my being: our children are given to us to allow us to reach out and touch the face of God, whatever you conceive him or her to be. They are given to us as a moment of beauty and a trust. They are that which outlasts us, a linkage to a bigger and more powerful thing than we could ever conceive on our own.

Listen to me, I know this: find those moments. Turn them over in your hands and dig yourself into them up to your armpits. Step, no leap into them. Be there, fully.

And let all of the rest go.

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11 Responses to Let all the rest go

  1. michele says:

    You dont talk about him too much. Not at all. Not here, not in real life. He is your son; talk about him all day, 24 hours a day. And if someone doesnt like it or is comfortable, that is on them… not on you. Not on him. Not one bit.

  2. Lacie says:

    This was a beautiful post. It is so well-written. Most parents would do well to read this and really take in what you have to say. I agree that we all need to marvel in the every day moments. Those tiny moments add up to life. The question, at the end of the day, is that will those moments be appreciated as a life well-lived?

  3. beautiful. and so incredibly well-said.

  4. Kathy says:

    This took my breath away. You so understand sacrament.

  5. Needles says:

    When I stopped at your blog today and read the header, I knew I was right where I needed to be today. You write universal truths, you know. Let the rest go. Thank you.

  6. MissingMolly says:

    I don’t believe in God, but even so, this is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. I cried reading it. Full of love. Transcendent.

  7. loribeth says:

    Just beautiful, Mrs. Spit. <3

  8. Maureen says:

    Recently, I had a long day. In the morning I was driving to a doctor’s appointment, there was the ‘moment of silence’ for Sandy Hook, at my older son’s school for the Christmas party, one room mother did not show up initially (and she was the only room mom for the room), I ran home and grabbed the cookies I had made for a friend who was having a chemo treatment for her stage III breast cancer, and ran back to the school, the gym teacher was providing games, I started to hand out cookies to 7 year olds (silently cursing that now the meal I was going to drop off was going to be devoid of cookies), the mom showed up. She explained why she was late (45 minutes late, to a party that lasted 1 hour). Her son (the one in the class) was just released from the hospital an hour earlier. I said I hoped he was better. She said no, he has leukemia. Now I was cursing myself for my silent ill will towards this mother, and happy I had kept my mouth shut when she walked in. As I dropped off the meal to my friend and her family, it was accompanied by ice cream, with a promise of cookies next time.

    That night, I was up in the rocker at 2am, for literally the 15th night in a row. Between nightmares, colds, and stomach viruses, it had been a bad 2 weeks for sleep. That night, it was a quiet grace. There are times I know I would have resented the moment. But that night, I felt it for the honor it is. There were tears, undefined. Not tears of joy for what I had, but not of sorrow either for what others were suffering. Maybe tears for both….

  9. Erica says:

    I so appreciate the way you are constantly reaching to connect, even with those to whom connection seems especially hard. And I love your truth so much that I barely have words to tell you.

  10. Tiara says:

    Thank you. So much. This is beautiful

  11. J says:

    Took my breath away and made me cry. I am going to cut and paste this to my email drafts so I can open it and re-read it often.

    Thank you. Just, thank you.

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