This morning, I tackled a couple of baskets of accumulated laundry I need to iron. And I tackled the closet in María’s room. It became another lesson in archeology, another small moment to practice discernment–what to hold on to, what to let go of. Some of it was easy. The closet was the repository for all of the clothes I wore until 2 years ago. I tried to put some of them on and literally, skirts would simply slip off of me and I swam in jackets and blouses. Those were easy to put in the ‘donate’ pile. But they gave me pause.
I am grateful for the second chances our bodies give us. Stress and not as healthy eating has my blood sugar edging in a not so good direction so I am back to as much mindfulness as I can muster in the eating department. Unlike the God of second chances and new beginnings, there are just so many blows my body can absorb. Seeing those clothes, realizing how unhealthy I once was, helps me remember that the choices are stark and have to be made over and over, and over again.
Other parts of today’s work have been harder. I found the Christmas dress María wore 3 years ago; it was hidden behind some other clothes in the closet. It is a very pretty dress—my girl looked lovely when she wore it with her first pair of heels. Sherod and I simply touched and looked at the dress for a while this morning. We had a game going in those years: if she wears a pretty dress, she will be happy and things will be better. If we learn something new, if we say something different, if we try this other program, things will change, she’ll understand, she will grow into better patterns of coping. I am learning that, along with putting dresses like this in the ‘donate’ pile, I have to sort out the hope grounded in reality from the If Only game. That can be wrenching. The spaces that open up when we let go can be fearsome. What replaces what I have let go of? Oh how I want it both ways—the new possibilities and the old dispensations.
Today, that question, “what must I let go of?” brings me back to holy indifference, a willingness to give something my all while not expecting one outcome or another. I am praying for the grace of holy indifference almost constantly this day and what I hear in response pushes rather than comforts (who knew that consolation is not always about warm fuzzies?). Holy Indifference understands that sometimes I won’t get to see wrongs made right. That letting go of something lets loose ripples that impact the lives of others, including people we care for deeply and the ripples sometimes cause pain to those I most wanted to shield. To practice this discipline means hosting grief, no matter how many times grief shows up and how ready you are for something else. And finally, practicing Holy Indifference means saying that a loss is real.
Whispered very gently with that truth is this other one. Even when a loss is real, it is not necessarily the last word. I strain to hear that whisper.