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About Life

Letting go

‘He is not a fool, who gives away what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot loose,’ it was Sandy Millar, rector of Holy Trinity Brompton, London, who spoke those words many years ago one Sunday morning. I was young back then, and proud, a small child on each side, holding on to my trousers and a baby on my arm. Those were days where seeds were sown and words spoken which only now I begin to appreciate, for using the word ‘understand’ would mean that I have learnt nothing since.

It is autumn. My acer is turning a beautiful red again. The last stage of this years growth is the most beautiful and the next storm will blow the leaves away. Every single one of them. And then the beauty is gone, until the next season. I watch it every year. We all do in the Brandauer family. It’s especially symbolic to me this year that the end can be so special and spectacular even if it lasts only a short time. The memory of it stays long after the leaves are gone.

I notice how with every year watching this spectacle my appreciation for material ‘things’ has declined, that owning has become less important but witnessing more meaningful. The pursuit of the acquisition of wealth for the sake of it, let’s call it by its ugly name ‘greed’, has all but died down at the same rate. Our last shirt won’t have any pockets, we can’t take anything with us.

The children have began to go their way. Good! I won’t be a parent who plagues them with expectations I could not fulfil myself. I wish them well. All five of them. I have done what I could. I fought the good fight even though I lost many battles along the way through my own failings. Yet they made me what and who I am today. There’s an important difference between giving up and letting go. That insight was part of it all too. And it requires courage to let go as it usually involves letting go of something familiar. But life goes on and as the familiar no longer works as it once did, so we must move on as well.

So what next? It’s no good trying to cling to the past. We cannot have a better one by wishing for it anyway. And it requires effort to holding on to it, effort that may well be better spent by investing it in a brighter future. Letting go of who and what I am, to become what I might be, sounds promising and whilst the raging bitter waters keep flowing, a bridge can be built across it to a better then, another side we haven’t been to yet. It’s our choice when we start building and letting go. Since sooner or later we will have to let go anyway. To do so sooner rather than later, when it has become inevitable, requires too this above mentioned courage but the reward is on offer right now. What is there to loose by letting go? Nothing. But everything to gain.

Take care and good luck

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