He floats through the air with the greatest of ease
The daring young man on the flying trapeze
The greatest of ease, my foot.
Before daring trapeze artists can float through the air, they have to master an important skill: letting go. It may look easy from the ground, but it’s anything but.
When it comes to flying from one trapeze to another, it turns out the letting go part is mandatory. It requires a leap of faith – in which for a brief moment the person is not connected to anything or anyone – before they can move through their routine and delight the audience.
In the circus known as Life, this is a skill we need to master as well.
Over the past few months, I had a front-row seat to witnessing my father-in-law letting go. First, it was in the process of downsizing and moving to Sheboygan. It required saying goodbye to tools he’d no longer use and projects that would be left undone. Then, as he faced the prospect of his earthly life coming to a close, he went through the process of letting go of this life in order to embrace the next. It wasn’t with the greatest of ease, I assure you, but he handled it with grace and daring.
Many of us will face this challenge at the end of our lives, but we all confront it throughout our lives as we transition from one season to another, from something safe to something uncertain.
Graduation finds us leaving the comfort of school to enter the real world and our first job.
Marriage finds us leaving the independence of singlehood to enter a shared life of sacrifice.
Retirement finds us leaving a predictable role and schedule to a wide-open calendar filled with unknowns.
And sometimes we have to let go of a relationship or say goodbye to a sweet season in our life in order to fully enjoy the new season ahead.
In my own journey, I occasionally experience feelings of resentment over the storm that ravaged our backyard last summer. I often feel angry that our woods are gone and that we’ve been saddled with an enormous bill that limits our freedom in other areas of our life.
But I have a choice. I can stew in my resentment and close myself off to what’s next, choosing to dwell on what was even though there is nothing I can do to bring it back. Or, I can decide to reach for the next trapeze. And that requires a true letting go, a willingness to experience a brief time in which I am no longer attached to the past but not yet certain about what the future will hold.
You can’t grab the gift that’s waiting for you if you’re still holding on to the empty box the last gift was in.
Are you in a spot right now where you feel stuck, unsettled, or torn?
Maybe it’s time to let go of something so you can reach out and grab your next adventure.
Don’t let the daring young man on the flying trapeze fool you. The process of letting go is scary, anxiety-inducing, and unsettling.
The art is in knowing that peace is found on the other side of your leap of faith.
Leave a Reply