Jesus made it clear to the young man who wanted eternal life to come to come to him as a matter of course, like so much of the rest of his life had, that emptiness – openess – is a prerequisite to receiving. Both Jesus and the young went away sad because his hands were so full of so many wonderful things that he had no capacity for the answer to his question.
As we come to the turn of the year, this story makes me wonder what my hands hold that limit my ability to receive the new coming?
There are all kinds of things this past year has brought that I find myself still holding onto. Some were damaging when they first came – and continue to be so. I know that the longer I hang on to them, the greater the damage will be. But I have kind of gotten used to them – have even adjusted how I think and live to make room for them. I bring them out every now and then, reliving the hurt and the disappointment all over again. They will gladly travel with me into the new year – but will undoubtedly limit my capacity for the new just as surely as they have done already.
The only way to receive, is to release. So, I must forgive – those who have hurt me, intentionally or not. They shall not have control over my capacity for wonder for one more moment. Release is more important than payback. Release prepares me for the new. Payback dooms me to repeat the old.
As it turns out, I must also release myself. In sorting through the contents of my hands, I find all kinds of coulda, shoulda, wouldas. They circle in an endless spiral of regret, the fuel of disabling shame – and they have to go! I must not allow what might have been to limit what might still be!
Of course, tt is not just painful things I have to release. Like that young man, my hands are full of some pretty wonderful things. They were meant for the moment – meant to pass through, to be used – but I have managed to hang on to them, making them the measure of wonder going forward. But now I find my hands full with yesterday’s wonder – and without capacity for tomorrow’s! Best to enjoy each moment. Then let it go – with thanksgiving and sacrifice.
Release makes way for receiving. It is the only thing that does. No better time than now.