I spent the day helping a friend go through the belongings of a dear loved one who has passed. It’s tough going. One might think it’s the expensive toys, gadgets, and gizmos which you’d want to hold on to but instead, it’s the little things; sheets of paper, old license plates, CDs, notepads. Items which wouldn’t sell at a yard sale or purchased at Goodwill are of immense value, a treasure to the ones who remain.
Death is often an open wound. Scabs may form, some healing might occur, but grasping at past memories and experiences, strains and pulls apart the wound and the pain, heartbreak of loss returns. Its hard letting go. It’s difficult to say; “goodbye.” but death demands we do it again and again in many ways, on many occasions and you wonder if it will ever be the last time.
Moving on requires that one live open-handed, no clinging to earthly, temporal things, allowing the shared life of the one who is gone to be enough.
Out of Reach –
A couple of weeks ago a strong thunderstorm dislodged a big limb from the huge Oak tree just outside of our front door. It was caught by other limbs about 15 feet from the ground. I noticed it last week and decided to take it down before it crashed onto the house, a vehicle or perhaps Beth or myself.
My idea was to pull the truck under the limb, climb on top of the cab, and try to grab it with something. Beth was not a fan of this plan. I got the truck in place, crawled on the truck as high as I could go and tried with a broom and a 2×4 to shake it loose. It didn’t work and Beth kept saying, rather loudly; “I don’t like this, you’re going to fall!” Managing to move it a few feet I was stretching as far as I could but the limb was frustratingly still out of reach. “I’ve got an idea!” I told Beth. “What if I jumped off the cab, grabbed the limb and pulled it down as I landed?” That was it. Beth, in rather stern language, made me get down and find another way. I retrieved a rope from my truck, tied a piece of wood to the end, and threw it over the limb and pulled it down. The limb was much longer than I realized and had many offshoots which made it difficult to finally get it free. After finishing I confessed to Beth that she was right, I was wrong, standing on the truck cab, trying to grab it was not a good idea and I probably would’ve hurt myself if I kept trying it this particular way.
Wisdom teaches us that certain things are out of reach for us. This doesn’t mean they’re always going to be unavailable, it simply means, for now, they aren’t ours to claim. However, too often we insist on grasping the elusive object immediately and troubles and pain follow. Knowing when and when not to go after something is as important as possessing it.