“Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.”
Confucius (551 BC-479 BC)
Today is my Dad’s birthday. He would have been 84 years old had he survived the lung cancer that took his life at 49. As I turn 58 next week, I guess that each year’s remembrance of my Dad becomes even more poignant to me. It’s a reminder of the fragility of life, that there are no guarantees of longevity in terms of years or of health. It’s also a reminder that the days and hours that we are given are precious, not to be squandered on things that do not matter, recognizing that life is a process of holding on and letting go.
What are we to hold on to…and of what must we let go? It is a wise person who knows. Sometimes I find myself holding on to the wrong things. For example, when I’ve been hurt, I often want to hold onto that pain, which is strange, because nursing the hurt only prolongs it. Beating myself up over past mistakes is another temptation I sometimes hold on to. Forgiving myself is often harder than forgiving others. Habits that take life rather than give life are hard to break, until they break me. All of these are things that I continually have to let go of, lest they consume my life and leave no space for the things that truly matter.
Letting go of past hurts, mistakes and ongoing destructive habits open us up to hold on to what is of lasting value. When we make that space in our lives, we can hear more clearly, we can see more fully, and we can respond more faithfully to the path that God calls us. Filling our lives with acts of forgiveness, kindness, compassion and love makes each day full and leaves the world a better place than it was before we came.
As I look back over the 23 years that I had with my Dad, I am thankful for memories: of his prayers at the dinner table, always laced with sincerity and humble tears…for his love of music and singing, whether it be around the piano with me or my sister Frances playing, or strumming his ukulele…for his friendships that were real and enduring…and for his stubborn, unfailing love for me. All of these, and much more, are what I hold on to and hope to pass on to those that God gives me the opportunity to love.
What will you let go of? What will you hold on to? What will be the legacy you leave with the days you are given? Today be intentional about what really matters!
Blessings, Pastor Susan