Paradoxically the season of spring is also a time to let go. Just as the buds are beginning to blossom and new life is bursting forth upon the earth, people of various ages and circumstances are letting go. High school students are letting go of the familiarity of family and friends to enter the unknown world of college. It is an exciting time of achievement, an ending of one phase of life and the beginning of another. College graduates are leaving what might have become the safe world of education to launch forth into the adventure of finding a job. This also is the ending of one phase of life and the beginning of another.
The end of June is also the time of transfers for priests in our diocese, traditionally, the last Wednesday of June. Be careful on the highways on June 26th: there will be a lot of movement as the priest shuffle occurs at noon. Some priests will retire and thus face a true letting go of activity and purpose to enter a time of discernment of one’s identity and purpose minus the responsibilities of administration. What can be anticipated as a welcome moment can be experienced as a disorienting moment of emptiness.
There is a commercial on television that shows how moving is difficult. They show some disasters that are possible. Moving in itself is a process of letting go. What do I keep; what do I give away? If I haven’t used something in years, why am I holding on to it? In the midst of transition there is a realization that time is marching on. Perhaps this next assignment is the last stop on the professional train. And finally, as can happen at any time of the year, a questionable or even alarming medical test can present its own personal challenges of letting go (especially of the illusion of immortality).
Lest this sound all to melancholic (especially in a springtime that has offered rain and chill), all of this letting go is also an opportunity. We profess the name of Jesus Christ; we say we want to follow Him and that we place our deepest trust in Him and His promise never to abandon us. It is precisely in the moments of letting go that we have the opportunity to turn to Christ and cast our lots with Him
In the midst of winter when the ground is frozen or covered with snow, it is hard to believe that new life will spring forth. But then, while we are still preoccupied with our busy lives, new life begins to grow ever so subtly but ever so real. Underneath the anxiety and uncertainty of letting go and facing the unknown, there is the reassuring voice of Christ if we but turn to Him: “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” ( Matthew 11: 28 – 30).
Jesus is ever faithful. He will never abandon us.
May the Lord give you peace.
Rev. James M. McNamara