"Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go." -- Herman Hesse
I had lunch with one of my nieces not too long ago. As we shared a big bowl of pasta and a salad, she asked me about relationships. She wondered how I knew when it was time to let one go. I thought of the “reason, season, and lifetime” adage. Reason, as the basis or circumstances for which something occurs; season, as a period of time, bound by certain conditions; and lifetime as the duration of the usefulness of something.
Some relationships are meant only for a brief period and others remain longer, often with little effort. There are those that seem to transcend time. You can go years without a conversation yet, the moment you re-connect there’s been no time lost at all. The ones that stick, even for just a moment, are one of life’s most beautiful gifts. They meet us on equal footing, where no one feels stronger or better than the other. They remain curious about our lives, adventures, goals, and dreams. They marvel and celebrate as we grow and change. They honor and respect us in all that we do. We feel the same about them.
They are as excited to continue along your journey as you are to join them on theirs. They look for ways to lift you when you feel defeated, sad, or hurt. They find courage to tell you if you have drifted into a place that might bring you harm. They share opinions, but don’t judge. When you argue, the goal is to hear and be heard, find a common ground, and create a space to give and accept an apology. They understand when you need some time to be a little more within. You do so with the confidence there is a supporting hand not too far away as soon as you need it. They are the ear to bend, the shoulder to lean on, and the hand to hold. Even if they aren’t in the room, you can still feel them doing all of those things. You endeavor to be the same for them.
They accept you for everything you are, and everything you are not. They aren’t afraid to tell you that pink is not your color, you really need your roots touched-up, and that no one really liked that dip you brought to book club. They always tell you when there’s something in your teeth. They laugh with you, not at you, when your “freak flag” flies a little too high in the sky. They sit with you at your absolute worst and find a way to make you laugh. There’s always lots of laughter, no matter what.
As we moved on from pasta to hot chocolate, she asked, ‘so, when do you know it’s time to let go?’ Well, I think it’s when you realize that person isn’t that person to you any longer. Sometimes it becomes obvious and others it’s subtle and gradual. Sometimes you know and you linger a little longer than you should because good-byes can be sad. Listen to your heart, it will show you the way, always. Accept that seasons change, reasons yield to others, and lifetime is a state of mind. Everyone who has touched us is a “lifetime”. The reason we came together, the season we shared, and the experiences and lessons learned become a part of our lifetime. That connection – whether a moment or an era – is giving way and creating space for life’s next experiences to begin.