Open Hand

My heart friends know there are only three reasons I go for long periods without writing. A. I am too busy. B. I am working on a book. C. I am struggling. Currently, I am busy, because the end of the school year is notorious for whirlwind activity, but that isn’t it. I am also dabbling with a book…but only dabbling not digging. No, my recent silence isn’t due to either A or B. It is C. I am cannot find the words to express what I am feeling while watching Louise fade away. I have started to write every day for the past couple of weeks but nothing I write is right. None of the words flow, each one is difficult. I am struggling.
I try to live my life with an open hand policy. That is not a typo, I did not mean door, hand is the correct word. When you have an open hand policy, you do not grasp and hold on to things, relationships or people. I have found that the tighter I hold something the harder and more painful it is to let it go. You cannot stop change, no matter how hard you try. This is true in every area of life’s ebb and flow. It seems that for every change of season there is opportunity to either hold on for dear life or let go. I decided long ago that if I have an open hand, God can place what he wants in it, and take what does not belong out. That way it is not my decision. It is his. At the time, this seemed a profound idea to me, and so freeing. No longer do I have to decide what is essential. He decides, and his choices are infinitely better than mine.
However, it is much harder open your hand than you would think. I have found that I do not always agree with him. It is the hardest thing in the world to open your hand that holds your children. When they choose to fly across the world, or to reduce your involvement in their lives to a minimum, or to go a way that is different than what you had imagined, you see how tightly your fingers have grasped. The same is true for friendships, and even my job. Sometimes, I physically open my fist one finger at a time when I am praying. It reminds me to open my hand.
I am doing that now with Louise. I want her to stay, but not like this. I know everyone has an appointed time. Hers is nearer by the minute. As it nears, I find that I don’t want it to come. I mean, how do you let someone who has been such an important part of your life go? How can I open my hand? It is hard. It hurts. It seems so final to open my hand in such a way. At least when you do this with a job, or a friend there is a chance that something better will turn up, or the friendship may be restored some point in the future. In death though, it feels more permanent. I know I will see her again and all that. But right now, that doesn’t help the tearing of my fingers…or my heart. I know I have to do it. I know it is time for her to go. God has made that abundantly clear. She is not herself anymore, until she winks at Bill or smiles at the kids. Then I can still see her in there, but those times are merely goodbye gifts now, she is not the spunky Louise that we all know and love. I have been blessed to have a mother-in-law that has always been in my corner. God placed her in my hand, and me in hers. Now he is asking me to open my hand once again and so I do, one finger at a time.

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