Help in Letting Go With Peace

September 2, 2008
I want to share with you how I discovered a way to release my lost expectations and hope when I was in the midst of great pain over the situation with our son. I believe my experience illustrates what can happen when we are open to healing.

Pond near a high Sierra camp

Brisk Morning at Vogelsang High Mountain Camp

In thinking about what I wrote for the last blog entry, I have decided that it would help if I gave you an illustration of how stepping into a picture can work. As illustration I will use what I wrote in Letting Go of Our Adult Children about an experience I had many years ago. It still calms my heart when I think about it.

The picture I used then is copyrighted, so I can’t share it, but this picture, taken three years ago on a mule ride in the High Sierras, is very similar to the one I used the day when I needed peace in my heart.

A COMFORTING PICTURE OF PEACE

I want to share with you how I discovered a way to release my lost expectations and hope when I was in the midst of great pain over the situation with our son. I believe my experience illustrates what can happen when we are open to healing.

When Matthew was forced to move out of our house for the last time, we knew that letting him go was the most loving action we could take. Yet it was extremely painful to force a child to leave knowing he was poorly prepared to face the trials ahead of him. That night I was unable to sleep and went into my husband’s study hoping to find some measure of comfort.

To understand what happened, you need to know that during that time of my life, and even sometimes now, I found it helpful to talk out loud when I was trying to sort through a problem. Because I am fairly verbal, hearing the words could give me insights I might not have discovered if I processed my thoughts internally.

On the door of the study was a poster of a gentle stream high in the Sierras far above the timberline. I happened to be looking at the picture as I said out loud, with great sobs, “If there is a God, please grant me the peace I so desperately want. I have done everything I can, and yet my grief seems more than I can bear.”

Almost immediately I felt calmer and in a quiet, soothing voice I said, “You are seated on a stone next to the stream. Lying at your side is an invisible rope which you have just let go of. The rope is of infinite length and has been used by you and Matthew to manipulate one another. The other end of it is still being held by Matthew , who has started down the mountain and is out of view. Your letting go of the rope indicates you are willing to trust your son to find his own path, just as you are learning to find your own.” Then I added, “Bob is standing next to the stream and he has also dropped his end of a rope that has connected him with Matthew . Your son will find his own path because you have both been willing to let him go.”

Where did that healing wisdom come from? It does not matter whether God really spoke through me or whether the words I said were simply my own inner wisdom expressing itself in a metaphor I could understand. What matters is that I experienced a sense of peace I could not have imagined possible earlier that day.

There is a footnote to this story. Thanksgiving came two months later and for many reasons we chose not to invite our son for dinner. His absence created a hole in the fabric of our family and reminded me of the deep pain I had felt earlier. As I wondered how I could get through the day without being constantly reminded of the fact that David was spending Thanksgiving alone, I decided to go into the study and look again at the picture of the mountain stream. Immediately I felt comforted as the peace I had experienced earlier returned to soothe my heart.

If you have experienced this kind of healing through pictures, I would love to hear from you.

2 thoughts on “Help in Letting Go With Peace

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