Friday, March 6, 2009

Heart Calluses

(Pre-script: This post is best paired with the song, " Loving a Person," so go down to the play list, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait.) (...still waiting.)
I'm not very good at letting go of things. I think I must have calluses on my heart from constant clutching. I think I need a heart balm. I wonder if Burt's Bees Wax has a salve for that. The first thing I ever held that I really cared about was my baby sister. I was three, and she fit. And then she was gone. And so I learned to clutch with all of my might. The summer when I was sixteen, I decided to attempt the ropes course at summer camp. It looked like fun. I thought it would be fun. I knew I was securely harnessed to safe things, and that I was never going to fall. There was a well trained, strong person holding on to the other end of the rope. But I was terrified. I climbed to the top of the telephone pole and stood on the top, very slowly, while everyone waited impatiently below. I stood there...and was expected to jump out to reach a pole that was...just out of reach. I couldn't do it. I couldn't let go. Eventually, I had to be pulled down. I couldn't just dangle there forever. That's another reason to let go; you can't live your life dangling precariously from ropes.

What I have learned is that if I clutch things or people tightly in my palm, the things or people might at first feel warm and snug, but eventually, the clutching and clinging will suffocate and kill them, so I will lose the thing or person, anyway...and because my hands were clutched all along, when it/he/she is ripped from my hands, my hands will be torn up in the process.

If I keep my palm open, I might still lose. But I also might not. On my open palm, you are free. You can come and go as need be. You can stay, dance, jump around, or just sit still and quiet there, you can take a nap or eat a sandwich there, and there is room for growth, change, and space, and time for something beautiful to grow. And then if I do still lose you, at least I did not suffocate what might have been, and I will not tear my hands up. At least I won't need a salve for that part. Even if I fear the rest of it might just about kill me. But just about is not the same as all the way.


P.S. Just for the record, I hate letting go of things, even if I know I have to. Sometimes letting go blows chunks.

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