Thursday, April 1, 2010

Letting Go (Repost)

“Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things that cannot be.” ~Anon

There are many things I envision doing in the two hours I normally have for myself, after my children go to bed. Fixing items is definitely not one of them.

After dinner, my daughter decided she was going to measure every piece of furniture in the living room, every knick-knack on tables and cabinets, and even her dad, who was lying oblivious on the couch watching television. She was on a mission. Tape measurer in one hand, and pencil and paper in the other, she set out to work with a tiny frown on her forehead to indicate she was completely absorbed into the task at hand. But alas, after a few measurements, the tape was excessively pulled, and it detached from the case. Of course, we had now a new project at hand – fixing the tape measurer.

One would easily assume that a simple gadget that can be purchased at Wal-Mart for $3.99 would have a simple inner mechanism, but as I discovered, even the under-age workers employed in sweat-shops overseas must have one over me. After my daughter had finally unscrewed the thing, I set out to patiently wind it up, coming to the conclusion that winding a hungry venomous snake would have certainly been easier. Once I had accomplished that infernal task, I realized that, instead than being pulled in, the tape was being spat out! So I looked at it again, and saw that the little wheel in the inside had to be wound in the opposite direction first. I did that. Satisfied with my apparent illusion of sudden geniality, I got ready to put the lid on, when I realized the tape got caught somewhere. I undid it again, and wrapped it around twice, only to discover I had it wrapped in the wrong direction. I carefully held the inside wheel, and proceeded to go in the other direction, when the little tongue holding the tape snapped!

I just stood there with the tape in my hand, dumbstruck for a few seconds. I finally had figured out the ins and outs of the problem at hand, and a few seconds before reaching the finish line, here I was…a winner with no trophy. In that moment I could probably have burned a hole into the blessed thing with my eyes, then I looked up at my husband, who just sat on the couch, staring at me as if I had lost my mind. Instantly, I saw myself through his eyes – a grown woman fighting a roll of tape for well over half an hour – and busted out laughing. A roll of measuring tape? $3.99 The satisfaction of throwing it in the dumpster? Priceless.

Amazingly, even measuring tape can teach a good life lesson. Many times we simply try too hard. Some things just aren’t meant to be, and regardless of how hard we try to get them to work out, they will only waste precious energy we could have invested elsewhere. Effort and determination are winning qualities, and do, often, lead to success, but when resistance is so bad that every move feels like a step deeper into quicksand, it is time to cut the losses and move on to more promising projects, trusting that for each closed door, two windows will open.

The situations we have given our best to, but didn’t work out, probably had a different purpose for being there – they might have taught us a lesson, or they simply were there to remind us that some things are out of our control and must be allowed to go.

Letting go of something that is an obvious closed chapter is not a sign of failure; it is acceptance that a new direction might be a better choice.

I will be offline the next few days, as I am trying to focus on two projects that are due soon. “See” you back on Monday.