Love is letting go.
Love can mean holding on. Fidelity. Commitment. Steadiness. Persistence.
But love is often letting go.
Control often feels like the way to love. But my experience tells me, in the end, control is not the way to love. Control dismisses, demeans, misdirects, imposes, and stifles. Love is letting go.
Love is letting go of my expectations for you. Letting go of my delusion that because I feel care for you, I must indisputably be doing what’s best for you. Love is more self-critical and adaptable than that. Love is letting go of my plan for your life. Letting you be as you are, not as I wish you were, or how, out of entitlement, I feel you should be, as though you owe it to me.
Love is letting go of my control over your process. Letting you react. Letting you overreact. Letting you underreact. Love is letting go of my impulse to control the conversation, even if I think I’m protecting you. I may just be trying to protect myself, and needlessly.
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I was a part of a religious body of churches—something like a regional denomination or collaborative partnership—called the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends (NWYM).
A year ago, that organization determined that my congregation and several others were no longer welcome. It determined certain kinds of people were no longer welcome.
We were purged.
Despite feeling frustrated, bewildered, and disappointed in a number of people in light of this purge, I’m fine. But being “fine” is a luxury, reflecting my privilege. Many others affected by the purge are not fine. They may not be fine for a long time.
I would not say I have suffered. Other than whatever relatively minimal suffering comes from being an empathetic listener. Or from watching people bully others or develop ever-tougher litmus tests of who’s in and who’s out (and who seemingly diagnose their “toughness” as a righteous pursuit or protection of truth). Or from witnessing a train-wreck but being unable to help, either because I lack the power to do so or because I lack the courage.
But I do wish to add my voice to the chorus of lamenters, even though what I see is limited. So take it with a grain of salt.
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I hold certain beliefs. I defend them. I am sometimes blinded by them. I modify them, if I can see that they need modified. I am guided by them. In some ways, I depend on them.
But why do I believe what I believe? Why do any of us believe what we believe? Why do we believe what we believe and not something else?
I don’t see things the same way I did five, ten, twenty years ago. It is likely that I’ll believe differently in a few years. Not because I’m dissatisfied with my present beliefs but because I anticipate that new discovery, new experience, and new voices will continue to shape my ideas, values, and vision.
Before expressing what we believe, I think it’s worth considering why we believe what we believe in the first place. What causes you to believe what you believe about God and all matters divine, eternal, spiritual, and sacred?How would you answer this?
I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but maybe you’d say something like one (or more) of the following…
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