There are people who enter our lives for a purpose, to enrich us, to teach us and to love us. Some last a long time while others do not. I recall a time, that a man was dying, and they wanted me to minister to him. His daughter had a hospital bed set up in her living room. He had cancer and the cancer had taken control of him. His wife and daughter doted over him, and every week, the wife, would tell me story after story of their loving relationship. The man never spoke a word, he was too weak and emaciated, but his big blue eyes spoke volumes, they were filled with the most expressive love for his wife I had ever witnessed. His beautiful eyes still holding life would puddle over the sheets as she spoke and I could feel the emotions behind them penetrating her with tenderness and love of their many years of memories together. His daughter shared with me how surprised hospice was that he hasn’t passed on yet, and to be truthful so was I. Until one day, it hit me, every time I was there, before I would leave, I could hear his wife say to her beloved husband, “and don’t you leave me!” “You hang on, don’t even think about going anywhere, I’ll be right back” and then she would walk me to the door.
I realized that, because of his enormous love for her, he could not let go and die. He needed her assurance that she would be okay without him. God in his great mercy gave them His Grace. I sat his wife and daughter down and shared my thoughts and the importance of his wife being strong enough to give him permission to die. Through many tears she conceded, and when I left, she went to him expressing her love, and gratitude for him and their family and every moment spent together. She told him that he was the best husband she could ever have had, and that it was okay for him to go, because she would be in good hands with their daughter and for him to save a spot for her next to him in heaven. Within a few hours he died.
This story speaks of the letting go through death, but there is also the letting go of relationships that change over time. It could be through a marriage gone wrong, friends from childhood growing apart, addictions forcing change, etc. The truth is some people are only meant to be in our lives for a season. To help us get from point A to point B, to support us, carry us through something, to teach us, or for other reasons. Life takes us on many journeys where sometimes our paths come together and sometimes they separate. It’s during these times that letting go can be extremely painful, especially when it is the other party letting go and you’re left wondering “why?” It’s in the surrender and acceptance that will give us peace in the situation.
Some people enter our lives and they are like fertilizer, enriching us and sometimes they are like toxic waste, draining us. Good or bad they help us grow on our spiritual journey, building character and strength within. Letting go of these relationships when the time is right, is a form of pruning. Jesus refers to this pruning in John 15:2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.
Some people have shared with me that it wasn’t until they ended their relationship that a better one came along and what about our dreams? Sometimes we need to end a seemingly good relationship (it could be a work relationship) to take a leap of faith and begin something new, to make our dreams come true. Pruning can be painful and we all usually want to avoid it, however without it, we won’t blossom into who we are meant to be, journeying down our unique path. It’s through the letting go that we enter into the plans that God has for us.