Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hold Loosely

Jason has me watching The Pacific with him this summer. I watched Band of Brothers with him years ago, and enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, so here I am watching another mini-series about World War II. It's difficult to even wrap my mind around the sacrifices required of extremely young men in the horrors of hand-to-hand combat. The bravery and courage demonstrated in the face of death and destruction is beyond inspiring.

Watching this mini-series has me thinking about the fine line between holding loosely to what we own, and even our very lives, but still giving our hearts away and loving others in order to be deeply connected to each other. It's a challenging line to walk. I have learned that I am not in control of most of what happens to me, but I can always manage my reaction to what comes. I'm trying to be vulnerable and open to change while not demanding my own rights the way I used to.

I know that there is immense freedom in letting go of my tight hold on things, but at the same time I want to give more of myself away, and invest in relationships which last forever. But when you give your heart to the ones you love, you always, always risk it being broken. It wouldn't hurt so badly to lose a person if you didn't love them with everything inside of you, but if you hold yourself back and stay frozen in your heart, you miss out on too much.

I don't know what the answer is here. I know that being real is better than pretending. I know that love is better than hate. I know that letting go is important, but so is vulnerability in relationships. It's better to be hurt and subsequently heal than to hold yourself back from being loved, even if the price seems too high to bear sometimes.

Watching these fictionalized soldiers bond to each other in horrifyingly awful circumstances, fighting to keep each other alive and close, has moved me. I have it so easy by comparison, and yet I must still choose to risk my heart in my relationships on a daily basis. Loving my kids and my family and friends with all that is in me means I could lose a lot, but it has to be better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

At the same time that I'm learning to give my heart more freely, and not protect myself behind thick walls, I'm also discovering that I can hold loosely to my expectations. Thinking I was ever fully in control of my own life was a misnomer. I am not. Things happen that I would never plan or design, and I must react to them, and not stress out about what is beyond the realm of my control. There is a freedom which dwells inside of this, and it has released me from the prison cell I used to live in.

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