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“What are you holding on to?”

Posted: April 18, 2017

I had a conversation with a couple of colleagues about this idea… We each talked about, “stuff” that we held on to… My disclosure was that we still had stuff in our basement from a cabin we sold a couple of years ago. I said after we sold the cabin we had a storage unit filled with the contents of five years of cabin life. After a year, we realized it was time to let it go. We sold some of it, much of it we gave away. The remnants were in our basement.

One person admitted that he had boxes filled with items that he had not opened in years. A friend suggested that he give it all away, because he didn’t need it. Another colleague mentioned a friend’s home filled with mementos. I just finished the book, Tidy Up: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying UP: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Condo. It has been a National Best Seller for months. She asks us to consider each item we own and ask ourselves, “Does it bring joy?” If not, she suggests giving it away.

Perhaps this idea cuts to the heart of Lent. “What are we holding on to?” And, on a deeper level, “What can we let go of?” Maybe this is the season not only to free ourselves of unwanted items that we no longer need. Maybe the real call this season is to consider what we can let go of that is holding us back from joy. Are we holding on to anger, resentment, or old grudges? Do we hold limiting ideas of what is possible for us? Is there an unanswered call to reconcile, forgive those who have harmed us? Is there a window of grace this Lenten season to ask forgiveness?

Sometimes reconciliation or reparations are not possible. There may be people who have harmed us that will never apologize; we will never get any real closure in a traditional sense. Making the choice to forgive doesn’t change what happened to us, it gives us freedom to move beyond it. This may be the season to ask for peace so we can finally let go of this burden.

We may wonder if we let go, “What will take its place?” The ironic piece is that God enters the void and transforms it with love. In the Gospel of John 14:7 it says, “My peace I give to you: I do not give it as the world gives.” This reminds us that God operates in a different currency… It is the currency of radical love, forgiveness and redemption. It led to the ultimate sacrifice on the cross.

Maybe the time is now to let go of what we are holding on to so we can truly live as, “Easter People.” We wish you and your family blessings this Easter Season!

Maura Schnorbach