Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I have rewritten the first sentence to this blog about seven times. What I keep writing is: "I have a hard time letting go."

But it's more than that, really. I am a fixer, a do-er. A helper. A solver and an organizer. I like to take charge of situations and I'm usually pretty good in a crisis.

So when something gets lost, I want to call in the sniffer dogs and FIND it. And then dust it off, whatever it was, or mend it, and clean it up and make it all better.

We all know, though, that sometimes that can't happen. Some things, once lost, are irretrievable. You simply can't get them back. Some things can't be fixed. People are not puzzles to be solved, and they sometimes get a little annoyed when you try. Some fights cannot be won, despite expert generalship.

And frankly, this haunts me more than a little, because despite the fact that everything I just said is true -- I have and will encounter the unfixable, the unsolveable, the ungovernable -- it often feels like failure to me long after the moment has passed, and so I keep returning to the same place, again and again, wondering if there was something I could have, SHOULD have done, something that would have made things different.

It's only lately that I have started to recognize that the belief that I, personally, am responsible for the outcome to any situation is exceptionally arrogant. While I don't mind a smidgen of arrogance in my character (and yes, I know it's there), I do realize that I am NOT the Supreme Ruler of All Things or The Queen of the Universe. Not only is it ridiculous for me to continue to carry these burdens, it's kind of rude. It denies others their own responsibility and role.

If I hoard the blame for the failure of a relationship, or the loss of a friendship all for myself, then it doesn't allow the other party -- the lover, the friend -- any real presence in that relationship. Which, at the end of the day, shows that it was not a real love or friendship at all.

But if I can set down the basket of my guilt and grief tenderly, gently, then perhaps I can also understand that no one person is ever to blame for the failure of a relationship. The things he does, the things you do, the things she did -- they're imperfect and messy. They're what make it worth it to have friends and lovers and they're also what makes those relationships sometimes seem like ridiculously complicated roads to navigate. Sometimes you forget to look where you're going. Sometimes, he decides that he wants to take a different road. Sometimes she wants to stop and build a house and you want to keep exploring. It doesn't mean one person was wrong, or that one is vile and evil, it just means that you couldn't work together to stay in the same place. So you part ways.

And you let it go.

I'm beginning to understand. It's not about fixing or feeling guilty or blaming. It's about learning. Maybe it's about letting your thoughts go there when they want to, but instead of trying to figure out how you screwed it up, understanding that you, all by yourself, didn't screw anything up. And so, instead of feeling angry or sad, you try sending out love to someone who, after all, probably needs it. (We all could use a little extra love, couldn't we?)

It's about letting go of what doesn't serve you and holding on to what does.

Even when it's hard.

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