Letting Go of Outcomes
When we let go of the emotional investment we’re putting in outcomes, we often get pleasantly surprised by what happens without striving and effort.
I’m referring today to a personal surprise, however, this applies to our grief journey as well. If we let grief process unfold, and never mind the end point, we’ll experience healing faster.
Drum Roll Please
First, my announcement. I’m in another book. I’m not crowing. Well, okay, I am maybe just a wee little bit, but really, I want you to know there’s another resource for us to use in our journey.
It’s called Buckets of Hope: Recovery from Grief and Loss. Kat Crawford, aka Kat the Lionhearted, published the book after assembling essays from 26 authors, including from me.
I’m also a contributor in Grief Dialogues: The Book. It came out in November and is available on Amazon here.
What’s really neat about Buckets of Hope is each story begins with a Bible verse and each ends with a reflection. I found God to be the greatest element of comfort and healing after the deaths of my parents, and so I’m delighted to be a part of a publication that includes Christian faith as essential to the grief journey.
In Buckets of Hope, my contribution is called The Last Closet. It starts on page 102. I published a similar but not identical version of this story on my blog in October 2017 called 3 Tips to Clean Out a Loved One’s Closet.
While the blog version is a mixture of personal story and how-to, the book version is about the difficulty I had cleaning out the contents of the last closet with my parents’ things in it, and the revelation I had that allowed me to do so finally with gusto. Buckets of Hope is available on Amazon here
I submitted The Last Closet in February 2018. You see the math? That was 18 months ago.
I got notification on Aug. 8th that Buckets of Hope was finished and up for sale. I know the publishing business moves turtle slow, but nonetheless, I’d decided to stop watching for the book. Kat had suffered some personal setbacks after I submitted, and I wasn’t sure The Last Closet would ever, well, emerge out of the closet.
In January this year, I let go.
A season of depression followed. A succession of events contributed to this winter of the soul.
I’d stumbled through a book pitch to an agent in March. I’d put out my level-best writing three devotionals for a publication tryout, receiving a nice but disheartening rejection. And then I also experienced some personal difficulties aside from the professional ones. Wondering if the book would come out wasn’t a piece of this soupy mess of emotions, but it also was not there to be a professional affirmation in a time of need.
And then on a day the darkness already had begun to lift, I learned Buckets was out.
Like a second kiss, becoming a book contributor a second time is not as elating as the first, however, I was pleased, especially given the faith-based core of the book. I had to smile because it all fell into place without my trying to make it happen.
Grief Clock Countdown
That’s how my grief journey unfolded, too. I realize as we wade through the muck of sorrow, anxiety may surface about arriving at an end point. We ask, “When will this pain end? When will I feel better?” While I accepted the pain, I wrestled with the wall that shot up inside of me each time I tried to get rid of something that belonged to my parents, or when I thought of selling their house. I feared by getting rid of the house, I’d lose the feeling of my parents being with me.
Yet I knew I couldn’t keep it.
I allowed myself to feel the tug of war at full force. I cried. I journaled. I discussed my distress with others. I did not know how I’d ever let go of the house. My patient husband nudged me from time to time, but he didn’t force an outcome. One unfolded on its own, and last year I sold the house. I gave it to a good family with children.
Instead of feeling completely absorbed by a new sense of loss, I eased into a different perception. I didn’t have to have the house to feel close to my parents. In fact, they felt closer than ever with the house gone.
We may grow impatient with ourselves or with the process, but let’s not give up. Even in the face of the hardest stuff we’ve ever experienced.
If we let go of the outcome and take what comes as it comes, we’ll be wowed by what God does. He engineers and accomplishes things we cannot on our best day. Let’s give him all our mess. He’ll make a masterpiece.
Do you want to just get this grief thing over and done with today? What is keeping you from letting go of the outcome? Is it fear? Is it societal expectations? Or something else?
Copyright © 2019 by Toni Lepeska. All rights reserved. http://www.tonilepeska.com