Yes, I admit it. I am a quote junkie. The fact that people now slap them on random photos even makes it better for me. It’s a form of art that should have it’s own category.
This morning I rolled over in bed to grab my phone and check the time. I decided to do a quick email and Facebook check (a requirement before I get out of bed. Don’t judge me. Yes, it’s sad and I admit it.) and the quote above was in my news feed. For a split second my foggy brain was agreeing with the positive message. Then a few more circuits began to fire. What? All I have to do to stay happy is to let go? I snorted, a mixture of laughter and disbelieve, rolled my eyes and then rolled over and went back to sleep. Yeah, letting that quote go would actually make me happy. . .
An hour later, I re-awoke and repeated the above routine. Although my news feed was filled with fun, new Saturday morning postings, I couldn’t let the quote I had read earlier go. In fact, I was beginning to get a little annoyed by the message. I decided to get up, have some coffee and think about it. Why was this seemingly innocuous, feel-goody quote making me uneasy?
A couple of cups of coffee later (with some peanut butter toast to boot) and the cobwebs began to clear. It was pretty obvious why I was annoyed with those words. While there is definitely truth to the message, how do you tell a person immersed deeply in the pain of their past to just let it go? Sexually abused by your father for years? Ahh, no problem, let it go. In the midst of a painful divorce? Not a big deal. Just let it go! A battered wife living a hell on earth? No biggie. Let it go. Grieving the loss of loved ones? C’mon, let it go! Let it all go and you’ll be happy, just like the quote says. Right? Yeah, by now, I was completely annoyed. . .
While letting go of past hurts and realizing that there is absolutely nothing we can do to change our past is absolutely the single biggest step we can take to begin to heal our wounded souls, it’s simply not that easy. Unfortunately, the truth is that letting go is incredibly painful, messy work that often involves reliving some very dark moments from our pasts. The truth is, letting go is simply not as easy as the fluffy blue skies and balloons message above leads us to believe. Letting go requires that we dive headfirst into a deep pool of pain all the while praying immensely that we rise someday from the depths. We dive in with a desperate, aching hope for peace in our hearts and a future filled with happiness. For some, it can take years before they begin to emerge. And when they do, happiness isn’t an automatic. What? All that work and still no guarantee? Maybe then, despite the truth of the previous message, we should look at letting go a little more realistically, like in this random quote photo.
The truth? We can’t be happy all of the time–there will always be some darkness–but, when darkness falls, hold on tight to that ray of light that we all have somewhere deep inside. Let that light guide you, even if it is only as bright as a single lit match right now, into the pain of the past. In time, your light will slowly shine brighter. And eventually, despite the pain and messiness of letting go, your inner light will illuminate your soul like the sunshine lights the earth. Bask in it, rejoice in it, and finally allow yourself to celebrate a peaceful, happy heart. That is a truth I think we can all embrace.