It is never an easy thing to do. But it is a necessity with life. We may not understand why things have happened to us in our lives: why we lost a job, a relationship didn’t work out, a good friend fades out of your life, a loved one dies suddenly. Life sucks sometimes…but we need to move on. We need to let go to move forward.
For a long time, I had an issue with friends coming into and out of my life. I thought a lot about it all and wondered why things didn’t seem to turn out like I wanted them to. Some background is needed here. Two of the best friends I have had in my life are no longer in my life, one is dead and the other is alive somewhere, just not my friend anymore. My friend, Damon, died of AIDS over 12 years ago. He was one of the first friends I made at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center. We had a lot of laughs and good times, plus many heart to hearts. I miss talking to him…but I am glad that I knew him. The other friend, Joe, was my friend from high school, the first one that I came out to. We were friends through college and beyond, then we just seemed to fall apart. He moved around, his marriage fell apart, and he flaked on me a few times. I even confronted him about it, asking him if he wanted to end the friendship. He said No… well, his actions spoke louder than his words. I haven’t spoken to him in 10 years or more…
I wondered why God would do this to me? Why did my 2 best friends leave me? I heard an explanation about it from Preacher Joel Osteen… he said that people may come into our lives for a season or more… but we should not be upset if the relationship doesn’t continue… it was not meant to be, and we should be happy for the time we had together. Things don’t work when they have to be forced. Be glad you knew them and wish them well. That’s the place I have come to with Joe. I hope he is doing well with his life. I will never forget the times we had together.
Also, I used to get excited when I was making new friends, thinking to myself “Maybe they will be my new best friend.” I would think about all the fun things we would do together and the phone conversations we would have. I wondered why you couldn’t just go up to someone and say “Would you like to be my friend?” For a long time in my life, I was shy and dealt with a lot of issues with that. Why did God make me this way? With time, I have been able to let go of these feelings. I may never be the life of the party, and it may take me longer to make friends… but there is nothing wrong with me. I am a good person and someone who will make a good friend.
I mentioned letting go of people. How about letting go of things? I can be a bit of a pack rat. So I have a lot of mementos and such from my childhood, chief among them stuffed animals. Earlier this year, I made the decision to get rid of some of my stuffed animals. We had moved to a new apartment and they were taking up a lot of space. I found an organization called SAFE (Stuffed Animals for Emergencies). They collect used stuffed animals, clean them up (or if they can’t, they will recycle them) and then deliver them to agencies (like police and fire departments) that can use them for children in crisis. So I proceeded to sort and sort till I had 2 trash bags filled with them. I kept the old ones from my childhood, like my Winnie the Pooh I was so excited to receive as a child. I took comfort that the animals I took out once or twice a year at most, would be put to good use, versus sitting in a closet most of the time. I did take a few pictures of the animals to remember them with.
Letting go is not an easy thing. But from letting go, we are allowing ourselves to grow. And opening ourselves up to new and greater life experiences.