Letting Go

I think the big lesson God wants to teach me right now is about “letting go.”  Together with Nora, I am letting go of a lot in my life, on almost a daily basis.

      In order to sell our house, we had to do what is called “staging.”  Essentially it means decluttering and neutering your home.  We’ve lived in our home for 31 years, and to call it cluttered would be a kindness.  Every nook and cranny was filled: attic, two-story house, basement, and garage.  We had furnishings from the homes of our parents, grandparents and an aunt & uncle.  We had boxes of stuff that had not been unpacked from our move into this house in 1985!

      Some of the excess needed to be kept.  We rented a large storage unit and filled it.  That hardly put a dint in our stuff.  So we started sifting it.  We took dozens of carloads of stuff to a local church thrift shop and some to Goodwill.  We gave away a lot to friends and family members.  We put piles and piles of stuff out on the curb in front of our house for the twice monthly sanitation department pickup.

      That’s the big picture.  The more intimate story goes to the heart.  When he was in elementary school, our son Felder made a papier-mâché dinosaur and knight.  Keep it or let it go?  We had to let it go.  So many items with heartstring stories… keep them or let them go.  We’ve kept a few special treasures, but let go of so very much more.

      The sale of our house closes on July 20.  We are letting go of the house that has been our home for most of our marriage and nearly all of our children’s lives.  Letting it go.  We have an apartment now in Edgewater till December 31st, then we will be technically homeless.  We’ll nose around some towns down south where we have family and friends until we feel we’ve found our next home.  But that will take a few months.  I feel a little like Abraham, and sure hope God will show us the way home.

      Then there’s the challenge for me to let go of this wonderful congregation that has loved us so well.  Where will we find a church home like this?!  Will we end up among the unchurched for lack of anything like you all?  Letting go.

      In 2005, I left Marble Church to become the pastor of Pompton Plains.  Within the month, my call there was rescinded by the Classis.  Marble invited me back, but I felt God was saying I needed to let go, that God had something better for me yet.  One day while I was praying about it, an image of a trapeze artist came to mind.  I’m not sure this is exactly the way they do it, but in my image, I saw the artist had to let go of the swing he was on and then be caught by the fellow on the other swing.  But there was that moment between when he was in the air having to trust that he would be caught.  He had to let go.  So did I. 

      So must we all at various times in our lives.  We can look at it as an experience of loss, or we can look at it as an opportunity for gain – an adventure with unlimited possibilities.  But nothing will happen, nothing can happen, until we let go, and let God catch and hold us.

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