Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Language of Letting Go-- Carolyn Wilker

Our Toastmasters meeting theme the day I write this post is Letting Go and the Language of Letting Go. There’s multiple meanings to that phrase "letting go", whether it’s allowing children to grow up and live their own lives, someone in our circle of friends who has moved away who seems to have broken ties, or a loved one who has died and for whom we must say goodbye.

I once read a poem comparing children to kites. The kite flyer, the parent, lets out a little string at a time, such as the day a child goes to school for the first time. The kite, being the child, may fail to rise, get caught in a tree, or rip and tear in the process. A child learns what worked or didn’t work and, with guidance from a loving parent, is willing to try again, until the day when the kite rises and flies freely, that is, a child leaves home.

As each child leaves, the home feels a little emptier, and parents hope that they have taught the necessary skills. I remember having to refocus when our last child was about to leave home. I wrote a poem entitled, Letting Go (pub. 2007, Tower Poetry).

Letting go

you implore

with tear-filled eyes that mirror my own

that I neglect my preparation

for the day of release

when the kite flies free

the mist clears and I see again

the young woman before me

be brave my heart!

you will fly as you were meant to

free and strong

and by letting go

I will have all that matters:

your love

There are exceptions to that rule, such as the child who needs support for a longer time, maybe indefinitely. I also think of a young woman who lives in a group home for intellectually challenged adults. She works at tasks in the community that are appropriate to her challenges. She has been involved in Special Olympics, with her parents’ blessing and support, even before leaving home. She has won many medals in those events and is about to go off to Nationals to compete in a winter sport. Hard as it was to let her go, her parents allowed her to move on. She shines.

On the second aspect, I think of a friend who moved away and after a short interval of communication, even a trip to visit her there, has made no attempt to stay in touch. I admit that this one has been hard, one that I’m still not over. She was one who encouraged me to write, brought me the first brochure for God Uses Ink conference that I attended in 2001.

Thirdly, letting go of a loved one who has died, but not forgetting. I miss those who have been dear to me and who have invested in my life: an aunt, special uncle, a friend, a neighbour, or a grandmother. I have not lost a child, a different heart-wrenching grief that I have witnessed among friends and family. We hurt deep on our losses, like flesh cut from flesh. We feel the comforting arms of friends, the kindness of friends and neighbours. We’ve let the person go, because that life would no longer be a healthy life. We commend that person to God and try to go on. In time, we begin to live again, exchange memories and even to laugh again.

It will be interesting to hear the responses to this theme. I, for one, have learned who my real friends are, the ones who are there to comfort me when I need it most, who understands how it feels to have a child leave the nest, or someone has moved away and dropped connections, or my grief when I have lost one I loved.

What does “letting go” mean for you today?

Author of Once Upon a Sandbox.


Upcoming events:

Storyteller at Steckle Heritage Homestead Farm, 811 Bleams Road, Kitchener, ON, Winter Fun Day, 11-12am

Book signing, March 10 at Waterloo Chapters store, Waterloo ON, 1-3pm


Peter Black said...

Carolyn, thank you for your up-front and close reflections, and also your engaging poem.
You've evidently worked these thoughts through in depth, drawing from your own experience.

Carolyn R. Wilker said...

Thanks for your kind words, Peter. You are always so encouraging.

There are thoughts that whirl and circle and will continue to do so for a long time, regarding relationships. The empty nest, I'm getting used to.

Diana said...

Carolyn, this is a thought provoking post. For me letting go has been of the things you mentioned. But also, I have had to let go of who I thought I would be at this time, where I thought I would be. What I thought I would accomplish. My letting go in these areas has been due to illness but I'm sure all of us who reach this stage of our lives (being 50-something) have had to let go of these things. I'm glad God fills the places where these things have been.

Carolyn Wilker said...

Diana, I think we all have to let go of who we are or who we thought we might be at times and just be ourselves. Thanks for your thoughtful and very honest comment.

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