7 (More) Ways To Let Go
I heard yesterday that an orca mama has been carrying her dead baby on her nose for three days, diving deep to catch the body every time it falls off of her nose. I started sobbing. My heart literally felt like it was going to just burst out of my chest. Now some of this is because I am currently on chemo and hormone therapy, but part of it is also the reason that I am on all of these wonderful treatments >> I want to preserve what I have left to have my own child. Thinking of that orca swimming around with its dead baby on its nose, still holding out hope that it might wake up, is how I have felt trying so hard to hold onto organs that are killing me but essential to me having my own children.
Loss is so f*ing devastating. Letting go is something I have written candidly of over the past year, and struggle with on a regular basis. If there is any shred of hope left, I want to hang on. We all do, right? We don't want the responsibility of saying goodbye if there is a sliver of a chance that we don't have to. It keeps us in unhealthy relationships, unsupportive jobs. It binds us to the unhealthy, even though our instincts are screaming, "LET GO!!"
I knew my high school boyfriend was not going to transition to my future college life in Florida, so much so that I lost 13 pounds in six months from the stress of the whole situation. My doctor put her hands on my knees and looked right into my eyes and said, "Honey, give this guy a rose and tell him you're done." Oh my, if things were only that easy. I don't think I have to elaborate for you to know that it was definitely not at all that clean and easy when the break up actually happened.
I look around my life right now and there are so many amazing things happening. I have an incredible family, friends that will go to any length (including shaving their heads) to show they love me, and a ridiculously supportive job that I am in love with. I even found a church that I feel at home in here, finally. Life is good. Yet, there is still this nagging at my heart as the fate of my future children is decided.
The sermon last night was about the classic story of Jesus feeding a crowd with just a couple loaves of bread and fish. Our pastor talked about how we have a duty to feed the world, to go big and create loving spaces and relationships in this world. He also said something that fascinated me, "Jesus does not always appear in a way that meets our high expectations." Oh man, I get that. Jesus appearing in a moment where I might not have the ability to have biological children is not a moment I EVER expected to go through with Him. But then our pastor said something even more enlightening, "But that just means that he usually comes in ways that are not our expectations, but exceed our expectations." I don't know what it was about that simple sentence, but it filled a large space in my heart that has needed some filling this year.
A stranger and I got into a discussion a couple of weeks ago about my predicament (what can I say? It's on my mind even when I am running errands!). She looked at me and said that she would not be as successful in her life today if it was not for her foster parents. She said she felt it on her heart to tell me that she had a really rough upbringing and was sent to a foster home. The foster parents believed in her, which was always something she craved, and provided a supportive environment for her to grow up in that she wouldn't have had otherwise. She asked if I would please consider being a foster mother if my plans for having biological children don't work out. She then turned red because she thought it wasn't her place to ask a stranger that. I smiled, and nodded.
Ever since then, fostering children has been on my heart. I've done research, started watching shows about it. I just can't let it go. And when the pastor said last night that Jesus comes in ways that exceed our expectations, I realized I might just know a way He might come that is not how I expected Him to. He might need me to take in children that are not my own, or at least volunteer at a foster children organization, to fill a space in His heart. Even if that means letting go of something that I've been holding so tightly to since I was a little girl playing house in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
I don't know what you are going through now, but chances are you have to let of something. Life is an alternation between holding on and letting go. Obviously, I am not the best at it, but here are some things that I think are helpful when trying to let go of something, whether it be a habit, a relationship, or a job:
Pray, meditate, reflect. Whatever you call it, do it, and be completely honest with God and with yourself. Talk through why you need to let go of this thing and then ask for help as you let go.
Make A Plan
If you stay at home and think about what you need to let go of all of the time, you are not going to let go of it. Start intentionally planning activities that will replace your negative thoughts of letting go. Do yoga, meet up with friends, attend night classes. Even sick to my stomach on chemo I've had to force myself to get out of bed and write or listen to music or go for a walk or attend church. Otherwise, I would be a puddle that just simply can't get through this right now. Keep moving. Keep on going. Even through the letting go process.
Go Easy On Yourself
With that being said, I know what it's like to be Type A and not be able to give yourself a break. You have to here. The more you obsess about not letting something go, the more you will, well, not let it go. It's okay to have strong emotions through the journey of letting something go. Feel them, and then let them go.
You have to believe you will be able to let go. I started out this journey saying things like, "I'll never be able to get over not having biological children." Well, guess what? I might just have to get over it. I might not have a choice. I realized I seriously had to change my way of thinking and believe that I could let go if it's the right thing and God's decision for my life. Other doors will open, and I absolutely have to be open to new ways of thinking about life and new plans for my life.
Find The Window
I know it is such an overused phrase, but it's true that if the door doesn't work you need to find a window >> and, I promise you, there are windows. One of the most valuable things my mama ever taught me was that there are always, ALWAYS options. Don't ever think you don't have them. They might not be your first choice, but they are there. Find another way. Find the window.
Visualization is one of the most helpful ways to step out of the past (let go) and step into the future. Create a board with everything you want in your future, minus the thing you are letting go of. Look at it for five to ten minutes every day. Begin daydreaming about the future that awaits you after you let go.
Tada! Bet you didn't see that one coming. The last step to letting go is actually letting go. Once you have grieved the relationship, job, situation, let it go. Sometimes it is helpful, if you are by a beach, to write it in the sand and watch the waves wash it away. I also have a lovely buddha board that I am obsessed with. You write things you need to let go of on the board and watch them disappear. I cannot tell you how therapeutic it is.
The fact for my life right now, is God's plans might not match up to my own plans I crafted for my life.
And I'm okay with that. I get it. I don't think I'll always be okay with it, and I think if I find out I do have to have a hysterectomy, it's going to hit me like a ton of bricks and I will grieve it in my own sort of way. But I will trust His plans, because I know He sees more than I do, and sees more where I am needed than I do. After all, filling His heart also fills mine.