The Beautiful Truth of Letting Go

The Beautiful Truth of Letting Go

by Cathee Poulsen

It’s late afternoon in Georgia as I pick up my pen. Filtered light drifts through the thick canopy of trees and hummingbirds dart back and forth drawing nectar from their feeder.

I’ve come to this house countless times over the years. To see these friends from college days when the whole world lay before us and our dreams were so big the Montana sky couldn’t have contained them.

They’ve received us in the worst of times and the best of times, always making us as welcome as a slice of cold watermelon to a man crawling out of burning sands. And on some of those trips that’s how we felt.

But this time is different because it might be our last time. They will list this house for sale soon and downsize to a new location. They’ll lock the door for the last time and walk away for good. At least that’s the plan right now.

Letting Go of Stuff

Buzz & Kathy are doing what Bob and I did 10 years ago when we left a 2800 sq. ft. house and cut away 1000 sq. ft. to live at Simplicity Cottage. That’s how the house got its name. Extra sets of dishes and glasses, furniture that wouldn’t fit in the new place, and pieces of our hearts that felt like tearing a Band-Aid off a sore that hasn’t healed.

 

It’s painful to let go.

Sorting through decades of photos, items that were wedding gifts 50 years ago — all of them conjuring up memories that tug at our hearts and raise the question of why we have to do this.

Letting Go of Expectations

So here’s the truth I’ve keep running into. The words I don’t want to say out loud.

I’m getting old!

I AM old. This is my birthday week and I will be 76. Did I think I was middle-aged? Did I convince myself that everyone else on the planet will get grey hair and wrinkled skin, but not me? What did I expect?

What did you?

I wrestle with those expectations now and realize that, exactly like every other season of my life so far, I have no idea what’s coming next. Wise people my age try to eat the right foods, get some exercise, stay teachable, and pray that one night we’ll just go to sleep and wake up in the arms of Jesus.

I choose to let go of what comes next. I can’t control it, so why focus on it? Letting go is just another word for surrender. The high water mark is to receive things just as they are and let them teach me.

Letting Go of Me

The Global Anti-Aging Market was worth USD 42.51 Billion in 2018. What?!

And most women my age have bought into it in varying degrees. We buy the Retin-A and Glycolic creams and find some kind of routine that at least softens those laugh lines. (“Nothing’s that funny!” someone said.)

But time marches on and there’s no stopping what we see advancing when we look in the mirror. I’m letting go of what Cathee looked like in her 40s, 50s and 60s.

When Jesus said we must become like little children, He was talking about letting go…

  • of who I think I am
  • of what I think I know
  • of what I think I need

I’ve decided I’m going to like who she is becoming over the next few decades. I plan to live to be 90-something, so that’s probably a good idea. Who wants to be miserable for the next twenty years? And if that isn’t God’s plan, at least I’ll be content for the rest of the trip.

This aging thing is God’s idea, after all, and since He’s good — all the time, as some of you like to shout out — then I better make peace with this process.

My life so far has been rich beyond anything I could have dreamed. The people we’ve gotten to know and share life with, the repeated experiences of God’s mercy, forgiveness, grace, provision and protection — His outrageous love. The five gorgeous children the Lord gave us. And their children and now their children.

Priceless.

When you think about it, at every season of your life, you’ve let go and accepted change that growth brings. If you don’t, you stay stuck and stagnant. Letting go of what’s passing is critical to ever receiving what’s coming.

My boyfriend who kissed me for the first time going over the Julia Tuttle Bridge in Miami is now 80. It’s surreal but the truth nevertheless. And he’s still hanging around and I’m content to take whatever Jesus Christ sees fit to ordain for us.

Even if we’re hairless and blind, we’ll still sit out on the deck in the morning and drink our coffee as the sun rises over Lake Clay. For another day has dawned and choice by choice we get to live it.

 

Share

Comments

  1. I think you just read my mind. I’m experiencing this verbatim. It’s the part of my journey that I m still not sure I’m in it and loving how I finally feel about myself and my life. I’m just glad that I’m not driving anymore and that Jesus is! Buckle up, hang on and enjoy the scenery.

  2. Kathy Freeman

    Letting go of what’s passing is critical to ever receiving what is coming, wow ?.

  3. So well written Cathy…

  4. One of a AAs famous sayings is, “Let go and let God.” So much of this letting go theme, after we let go of possessions that we no longer need, and let go of the many friends and loved ones who have gone to check out heaven before us, is just that! Letting God be the Prime Decider of so many things. Happy birthday this week, Cathee.

  5. Lynne Jones Lawler

    Cathee,
    As always, this spoke right to my heart! I am sometimes surprised by the woman I see in my mirror on a daily basis. Thoughts pop in my head some mornings, things like “where did THAT new wrinkle come from?!?” I have noticed the signs of aging but haven’t FELT them until pretty recently. I am now practicing gratitude that our loving Father hasn’t given up on me and has allowed me to continue walking in His presence for another blessed day. I I’m learning, day by day, to embrace these changes and loved this blog, especially this: “Letting go of what’s passing is critical to ever receiving what is coming.” What a beautifully wise way of looking at things.
    Have fun in NC and tell that “boyfriend” of yours we send our greetings to him as well. ^_^
    Love you, friend.
    Lynnie

  6. Cathee – happy birthday ?

    You are so blessed – wait let me rephrase that – we are so blessed. Letting go is essential but letting go of expectations and accepting what is when someone in your life just can’t let go and (in fact) holds on with all their might is something God seems to be teaching me.

    In the scheme of my life it seems to be that while I have my health, a very quite serene place to enjoy and get to do my favorite things every day, I am learning to let go in a different way – learning to give to God my angst over the “things” that can’t be changed or let go.

    I’m not completely there yet but I’m learning to lean on Jesus and putting everything else in a bubble and letting it go “POP”!

    Blessings continue to abound and they don’t need a shelf or a box or space anywhere but in my souls acceptance of them.

  7. So perfectly said Cathee. I feel so much like you do. So BLESSED with 4 beautiful children and 10 grands and I was the wild child of my family. Who knew what God had in store for me. I love the surrender. Why not we are not in control if we trust in Jesus. I love your blogs and inspiration.
    Bless you and love to Bob

  8. We are all going through stages of change on every level. Hanging on to the past is painful and unsuccessful. I love your words “Letting go of what’s passing is critical to ever receiving what’s coming”. I want to enjoy my final days and not resent them. Thanks for sharing your encouraging words again. We will press on with enthusiasm for whatever God brings. Grab a fork. The best is yet to come.

  9. XOXOXOXO

Speak Your Mind

*