Friday, August 23, 2013

What if we were brave enough to let go

There is a perfect time of day. 

Somewhere in the space between the sun waning and the first evening chill converging, where the light is a faded gold, like an old photograph, and the landscape is bathed in wonder.

Most days, the exquisiteness of this moment escapes me. I am busy with emails, or exercising to burn more calories, or preparing dinner. I am hurried by my never-ending list of things to do.

But what if God created the world to be enjoyed, and I, along with it. 

What if every sunset was made to be watched, breathed in deeply, and exhaled with the last vestiges of light.

I went running at this perfect time of day, without headphones.

This is not something I do and this was not a choice, more like a reality forced upon me when my husband left the house with my set. At first I was angry because I’m the kind of girl who likes to listen to rap music when I run, to really get me pumped up for all the torture.

But then I realized this was an opportunity to practice what I had been reading about that morning---being present. 

As I put one foot in front of the other, I willed myself to be present. To hear and to feel the rhythmic pounding, to pay attention to the sweat trickling down my forehead, to the pain in my left knee, to the noises the birds were making in the trees. To feel the sun absorbed into my pores.

At first it was uncomfortable, as though my mind wanted the distraction, needed it in fact, as though my body was poised for a mutiny.

But as I ran, it became easier, and I began to let go. 

I slowed down time. I didn’t rush past it. I didn’t drown out the pain with every laborious breath. I didn’t think about what I had to get done tomorrow. Or worry about what other people thought of me. Or perpetuate my own mind’s negativity. Or think about how I wish I were skinner.

As my senses noticed things around me, I saw the couple lying in the grass with their new baby, and heard the shrieks of two little girls as they squirted water guns for the first time, laughter soaked.

I felt alive. 
I felt thankful.

And it was my own prayer, my own meditation.

The hardest thing about leaving Africa, was losing all that purpose, all that being needed, and wondering whether I was really doing something worthy on this earth without being focused on a mission outside my own personal growth or happiness.

Wondering if I had purpose without being focused on something outside simply loving God and letting myself be loved by Him and letting that love trickle out. 

I've spent a lot of time wrestling with whether it was enough to just be, as though I needed the world’s permission to choose things that made me happy.

I have been practicing trying to live as one who is loved, as one who loves myself, for years, but I’m not sure we can every truly know this fact until the thing which has given us our most meaning, is released.

I find this can happen either by it being stripped from us, still clinging, or by us having enough courage to surrender it. 

This is the moment our beliefs our truly tested.

So much mental energy is spent trying to keep things at bay, trying to push fears down, but when they surface, and we stop fighting, and surrender to their truth…..

It’s the most perfect time of day.

And all that’s left are choices.

What are we willing to let go…..

Read some other thoughts on letting go by my friends over at Storyline here.