I teach in an elementary school, so I am overloaded on anything having to do with the "Frozen" movie. I am NOT referencing the popular ice princess song when I talk about "letting go" of things. . . sooooo . . . if you were hoping for a post about that, you maybe need to search elsewhere.
A few days ago Robbie and I met up with a friend of ours to scope out a place to record the new E.P. It's a room in an office building with a random baby grand piano in it and some nice windows looking out into the Chattanooga city scape.
It's a different project than I thought I'd be doing.
I wanted to compile an album of songs about human relationships, but instead? I've ended up with three songs about the beginning, middle, and end of the human experience.
And they are close to home.
Closer than I'd like.
But I know better than to argue with the practice of writing about real things. I still do my weekly writing ritual. I sit down with a pen and paper and scribble about life - my life, other people's lives . . . and whatever seems worthy is what stays in the song book to wait for its music.
About a week ago I was speaking with Robbie about this subject matter. He'd been listening to my practice that evening. He said, "I don't get how the second song fits."
The second song . . .
I've laid down a home recording of this song before. I've played it on the radio before. It's about abuse. Or release from captivity. You could spin it several ways. It's one of my favorite songs - one that I haven't gotten tired of playing.
It's from this second song that I draw the idea of "letting go" of things.
I imagine that all of us, from the time we're born, challenge our parents with the idea that we are theirs, but that we don't really belong to them. Many people (including my own family) probably cling to the idea that all people belong to God, but that people can't belong to other people.
My own father and mother have been somewhat adamant about this idea of children being their own people - they took care of us and gave us advice. They raised us and had rules for us to follow. They told us what our next steps should be. And then? They challenged us to decide the important things for ourselves. Looking back, I can see that this was always their way of thinking about us. My father didn't demand to be asked permission before I married Robbie. He didn't even want to practice the traditional "giving away" of the bride . . . because I was a human being unto myself. I appreciate that. So? My husband and I went so far from the beaten path as to walk ourselves down the aisle - yes, indeed, we did. It's one of my fondest memories.
So, the second song - Don't you think we have a hard time letting go of other people, whether they're related to us or not?
I can remember a time in my life when I chose to be deeply involved with a few people who were not healthy for me. I'm sure that all of us can remember a friendship or relationship that worked that way.
You know it's not healthy, but you think you have some responsibility to be somebody else's keeper - even if it hurts you very badly. Even if it enables that other person to continue unhealthy behavior. So you stay in the middle of it. And nobody gets any better.
Friends, I wish that I could say I've been someone who has always recognized these warning signs . . . someone who has always responded with grace and appropriateness.
But that would be a lie.
If something is deeply unhealthy for yourself, you can rest assured that it's probably unhealthy for the other person/people involved.
Sometimes both parties want to be ignorant of it . . . but very often, I think it's true.
Choosing to let go of an unhealthy relationship is one of the most difficult and painful things I've ever done in my life. I was a very young adult at the time, and I didn't know myself very well. It changed many things for me.
I can remember a good friend saying these words to me, shortly after my separation from the unhealthy situation I was in: "You do not seem like the same person that you were a few weeks ago. I'm not saying that to be ugly - you just don't seem like the same person at all."
They were right.
I was different.
Other people wrapped up in that situation were also different.
We all changed - because letting go of unhealthy things is an important part of human life. I believe it can be a holy and beautiful experience, even though it's often full of our broken humanity.
So how did I answer Robbie's question about the second song being related to the "Life Cycles" topic?
This is what I think:
From birth, to mid life, to death, human beings are forced to learn how to let go of control. We let go of our own children, knowing that they belong to God and themselves. We let go of people and things that cause us harm, learning how to be stewards of our own lives on this planet. When someone that we love is preparing to die, we let go of many things . . . control over the process . . . . the past actions of our loved one . . . any grudge or unforgiveness that we harbor against them. We let go of all of these things so that we can experience full life. So that we can be free to love in a healthy way.
I've stood at some challenging crossroads in my 26 years on this planet. I am sure that you've had your own, similar challenges.
We all have this in common.
That's why I think the second song in the "Life Cycles" project is going to be so important.
It's been my honor in life to know some people who have overcome extreme addiction. Each of them has shared with me, at one time or another, these words. I think everybody can benefit from them.
Peace & Goodness,