I don't think I have a story to go with this post. I just have the simple insight gained: that to learn to love is also to learn to let go.
I imagine the disciples watching as Christ ascended into heaven. They needed to let go, just as I'm sure Jesus was learning to let go too. The relationship between them was not ending; it was changing. He wouldn't be here with them in the same way, but still he wasn't gone. They need not stand and wait for his return. No, his return would be in their love, made manifest in their living and discovered in the eyes and arms of others. That is where they would find him. I can say that because for anyone who has found God- who has fallen in love with the Divine- that is how we've done it... in others, in prayer, in experiences...in some way other than explicit, literal, actual face-to-face contact.
The last week has been full of goodbyes. As I come to the end of my first year of full time ministry as a Sister of St. Joseph, I realize the intense nature of the relationships we maintain. We are relational people. We live and work so that all people may be in union with God and with one another. That's who we are; that's who I am. At times, I'm not very good at that. At other times, by grace, it comes easily. Either way though, hard or easy, relationships come and with/in them there is love. It's a love beyond bounds of being. It means being vulnerable. Opening yourself to the love of another and discovering what happens in the process.
A friend posted earlier in the week on Facebook about how life turns out. She wondered aloud- Does anyone's life turn out how they expected? Is being flexible with
one's expectations make for a happier life? Can one be too open to what
happens next in life?
Reading those questions, I wondered. Has my life turned out how I expected? Have my expectations changed? How am I still discovering who I am? and in what ways, am I striving to most perfectly (and thus imperfectly) be myself?
Talking to another friend later in the week, we drew the conclusion that life is complicated. And despite what we might hope, life is just going to keep being complicated.
In the end, I guess, we just have to learn to live in the complications. Live in, not with. To "live with" is to passively acquiesce to it all; to "live in" is to say yeah this is complicated, but it's also life...my life and I'm going to live and love in it no matter what.
Sometimes that requires letting go. It means being a little less serious so you can just be and so, ultimately, love can do its work in you and through you. You're changed. The hope is that that change is for the better (and if you let go a little, lean in to God and trust, it probably is). Then you can most fully be yourself and you can allow those around you to be themselves- the very person you love them most for being.
And there's something freeing in that... something complicated... something called Life.