Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Letting Go

Lots of movies have gripping scenes where someone is barely hanging on in a precarious life-threatening situation, and others are encouraging them to "hang on" and "don't let go."  Some do hang on and are rescued.  Others don't.

The movie Titanic had a couple of scenes like that.  I am thinking of the scene after the Titanic has sunk when Rose is floating precariously on a flimsy board, and Jack is in the water, holding her hand and telling her "Don't give up, Rose.  Don't you quit."  Soon, though, the freezing water is too much for Jack, and he loses his grip, lets go and slips under the water.  But Rose hangs on and is rescued and lives a full and satisfying life.

Hanging on is not always the best thing, though.  Five years ago friends of ours lost a grand-baby.  The baby was only a few days old when it died.  That was a sad time and there is still grieving over that baby.  Our friends have a little letting go tradition they started on the baby's first birthday.  They buy a happy birthday balloon, say a little prayer, and let the balloon go.  I was over there for dinner tonight, on what would have been the baby's fifth birthday, and participated in the letting go ceremony.  My buddy and I stood there watching that balloon until we couldn't see it anymore.

Sue was in a lot of pain today, on and off.  Headaches, neuropathy, nausea and general discomfort.  You want to be encouraging, but days like this you don't know if it's even right to stand on the sidelines and holler "Don't give up."  "Don't quit."  "Hang on."  "Don't let go."

Someone, presumably Leslie Plyler, posted this letting-go poem as a comment to one of my recent posts.

In the silence of your slumber
There's a low-lit burning fuse
Your journeys almost over
And you've paid your final dues

Your sun will now be setting
From a view I cannot see
A prism of crystal colors
That plays a beautiful symphony

You'll finally have the option
To soar on the eagles wing
To fly from near the mountain tops
Down to the nearest stream

No more burdens of this life
You'll not find them around
You'll finally be released
Of the chains that held you down

And I won't hold you back
Being selfish with my tears
By dwelling on your life
That you had when you were here

With unconditioned love
I send with thee my friend
And holding memories dear
Until we meet again.

Written by Leslie Plyler
with Dennis Coty 1948-2002


  1. George, it broke my heart and even made me teary eyed, because I know exactly know what you mean. Sometimes I think whether we're being a little selfish for hanging on, is this what they really want, too? Hang in there, hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for you and Sue.

  2. All I can say is that I hope Sue feels better. I hope your days are not filled with stress. My prayers are said for the both of you daily.

  3. Peace comes with letting go. It doesn't take away the pain, but it frees you from that inner battle. You'll know when the time is right.

    That sounds so simplistic. There's much more I could say... but I don't think you need a lot of words today.

    Praying for you all.....

  4. For me the Toro Nagashi ceremonies mean more than letting go balloons. They do it at the Japanese garden at Woodward Park in the summer. Some places like Honolulu have thousands of lanterns in the water. Here is a video of the Woodward Park ceremony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d265n3yekhI it looks good when the sun goes down.

  5. There is a phrase, "Let Go and Let God," which has sustained me through some difficult times. It is such a hard place to be for everyone right now, and my thoughts are with you all as you wonder, wish and pray.

  6. We are chosen family for each other. Thanks for sharing a bit of our journey.


  7. Sometimes our loved ones announce to us to let them go. My mother,did this to me in early December. She said it would be difficult for me to understand but she wanted her Christmas present to be going to heaven. She passed away Christmas morning. She got her wish and a gift from the Lord. Yes, I still grieve at Christmas for our loss, but know she is soaring on the wings of eagles in heaven and singing with the angels.

    PS, I shared the above poem with you. from a friend of mine.
    Jo Ann D.

    1. Yes!!! I {Leslie Plyler} wrote the above poem... I wrote it as I watched my friend Dennis passing away... I felt he was with me (in spirit), so I wrote it was from both of us. My son has since passed; he was 23... not cancer related; but truely I do understand your grief. Love and Prayers....Leslie Plyler D.H.S., Ca.

  8. Wow, how hard. I ask for peace for the two of you during this challenging season.


  9. George and family-
    I've been following your blogs for awhile. Your family has a special place in my heart and I was blessed to be there to watch your girls grow in their faith during their teenage years. My prayers are with you now as you go through this. My father is currently undergoing cancer treatment and your blog is theraputic at times for me. I thought you might enjoy these lyrics from Stephen Curtis Chapman. This album is very emotional to listen to, but has such truth.

    "Out of these ashes

    Beauty will rise

    And we will dance among the ruins

    We will see it with our own eyes

    Out of this darkness

    New light will shine

    And we"ll know the joy that"s coming in the morning

    ...from "Beauty Will Rise"

    Hugs and Prayers from our family!


  10. We continue to pray for you all.

  11. All of you have a special place in my heart and prayers. My prayer right now is that Sue will be able to attend Jessie's wedding.


  12. Susan, George, Jessica, and Valerie,
    I keep praying. I don't know what else to do or say.


  13. I've often thought of "letting go" in the terms of my children. The day they were born, I took a chosen minute to hold them dear in sheer awe and love vowing to protect them every day of their lives. But also in that minute, I vowed I would start that day to "let them go". My job as a parent is to raise them so they can stand on their own two feet, and letting go for me started early. Granted, I need to remind myself often of that quiet minute. Your post of letting go brings my thougths to new realms. I am not sure if I could ever let go in the way you are having to at the present. Not that there ever is a choice.


  14. Letting go is probably one of the most difficult things that we must do in our lifetime, no matter who or what it is.
    You are in our prayers!
    Dave & Kathryn DiPalma

  15. You and your family are all in my prayers. I can't imagine the heartache that you are facing right now, but know that your church family is here for you. We all love you very much. Praying Sue can go to Jessie's wedding!

    Heather McGill

  16. Thinking of you, Kemo Sabe.... with prayers.

  17. George & girls - More Steven Curtis Chapman... Part of the song, "Faithful"

    When I cannot have the answer
    That I'm wanting to demand
    I'll remember you are God
    And everything is in Your hands
    With Your hands You put the sun and moon and stars up in the sky
    When you give, when You take away even then
    Great is your faithfulness
    Great is your faithfulness
    And with everything inside of me
    I am choosing to believe
    You're faithful

    We pray that Sue's wish of being at Jess' wedding is granted and that she is more comfortable. We stand with you George.

    Paula & Keith