There is a time in all of our lives when we must let go. We let go of the past that causes us pain, we let go of loved ones who pass on and we let go of our youth and mature into adults. The earth keeps spinning and life continues. If we hold on too tightly, we risk missing beauty that is found in the new.
My 5-year-old missed the memo.
She has a pair of pants, two sizes too small, in her closet. Somehow these pants, with three holes in the right knee, keep showing up. Each time these threads find their way to the wash, I make a mental note to secretly dispose of them. But thinking about and doing are two very different adjectives, and last week the pants showed up once again.
We were in a hurry that morning, (a common occurrence in the Means’ home) and I didn’t notice the pants my daughter chose, until it was too late.
“Mom,” my daughter laughed from the backseat on our drive to school, “there’s another hole in these! I didn’t see it until now!”
Make that four holes. I was embarrassed.
“Girl, we must throw these away! Why are you still wearing these? We are throwing them out as soon as you get home,” I added.
“But, Mom,” she said, “I like these pants. They are comfortable. I don’t care about the holes. Nobody even sees them. Nobody cares.”
I chuckled and said some sarcastic comment privately to myself, about everyone noticing a 5-year-olds pants and how embarrassing it is to have a kid in tattered clothing.
But throughout the week, I couldn’t get our discussion and those pants out of my brain. Maybe I’m the one who needs to let go; of control, of unexpected circumstances, of trivial matters, of a look or perception I think we should portray. Maybe she’s right. Maybe no one cares?
And then, I thought of my dear friend, Ashli, the one who just this fall, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s my age, with three young boys. I know life’s insignificant trials mean very little to her. I know she doesn’t care about holey pants or keeping a perfect image. I think of her often, actually, anytime I want to complain or gossip or get angry about the long line at the grocery store.
“Just let go of that,” I remind myself. “Life is more important.”
Ashli is fighting her cancer with courage and strength and humor and faith that I envy. Would I be able to be as strong if life handed me the same challenge? Would I be able to just let go and trust?
I’m not sure. Would you?
Last night, when I saw those pants in the laundry yet again, I almost couldn’t throw them away. Maybe my 5-year-old is right. Maybe some things are worth holding on to.
Nah. Four holes, guys. Four.
But, there’s a lesson here. Sometimes in life, we have to let go. You know this, I do too. There’s beauty in the unknown and if we hold on too tightly, we just might miss it.
I told my daughter I was planning to throw away her pants this week. She responded, “That’s good, Mom. They were old. Let’s get something new!”
My thoughts exactly.