Letting go of the seasons of life | Weekly Worship

By Mark Smith, Mukilteo Presbyterian Church | Oct 30, 2013

In the movie “Father of the Bride,” Steve Martin plays a middle-aged man by the name of George Banks who has a really hard time letting go of his daughter when she unexpectedly announces her plans to wed.

The movie is really quite hilarious, as it chronicles his various trials and tribulations leading up to the big event. And there are some tender moments as well, as George tries to come to terms with his feelings.

It wasn’t easy for him to acknowledge a passing season in his life. No longer was his daughter directly under his care; she was finally leaving the nest and giving her heart to another.

The act of “giving his daughter away” in the wedding ceremony was bittersweet.

Life is filled with moments and seasons of “letting go":

There is the letting go of a child who goes off to college for the first time.

There is the letting go of a long-term personal relationship.

There is the letting go of a loved one through death or divorce.

There is the loss and letting go that comes with our own aging, letting go of our own younger self, the self that we always thought would be unwrinkled and invulnerable and immortal.

There is the letting go of a physical ability lost with age or illness.

There is the letting go of hopes, dreams and goals that are no longer realistic because of other choices we have made.

There is the letting go of a job or career to which we cannot return.

There is the letting go of a treasured material possession or a piece of property with its associated memories.

There is the letting go of death itself, when we, ourselves, must leave this life.

The biblical book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that life is all about receiving and letting go:

“There is a time to be born and a time to die,

A time to plant and a time to uproot . . .

A time to embrace and a time to refrain . . .

A time to search and a time to give up,

A time to keep and a time to throw away . . .”

One of the things that is helpful in our “letting go” times is to be reflective and philosophical about all this, understanding and remembering that life has its changing seasons, and each season of life needs to be experienced and appreciated for what it is.

Nothing stays the same forever. Children will grow up and leave home. People will come in and out of our lives. Relationships will change. The contexts of our lives will change.

Life will take new turns, no matter how much we wish we could keep things as they are. There is wisdom in accepting this simple fact.

One of the most important things we can do is allow ourselves to grieve. Sometimes we think about grief only in relationship to someone who has died. But grief accompanies any significant loss, though we may not recognize it as such.

We can grieve when we are staring at our children, or sitting by a loved one in the hospital, or noticing how a neighborhood has run down, or realizing we are developing arthritis in our joints.

Then, too, it is good to remember that it is in “letting go” that we are able to discover the greater rewards of life.

It is only as we let go of people or familiar situations or material things, that we discover new opportunities for growth and new gifts and pleasures to enjoy.

When one door closes, another one opens, and oftentimes it is far better than what we had before.

In the end, we have to trust God through all the changing seasons of life, believing that he is working out his good purposes for us.

We can pray with the psalmist: “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands.” (Psalm 31)

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