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Monday, February 17, 2014

Love means to trust and to let go

   "There is no fear in love for perfect love casts out fear." - 1 John 4:18

The year 2013 has been full of growing up pains for me. With so much that has happened within my circle of family and friends, the most important lesson that I had was that of surrender; of trust and of letting go. It was a journey measurable not in visible achievements, but in moments of courage where faith was the only thing that gave me strength, and of acceptance. Looking back now, I felt that my heart has been stretched to new proportions. Yes, I will always be afraid still, but I know now just how strong my heart really is no matter how fragile. And most importantly, even if my own strength gives out, I will be held up by the one true love that has changed everything...

So let me give out some details.

2013 was yet another landmark year for our ever growing family. To date we had two new babies and two new sisters-in-law. Yes, my two dear brothers are now officially off the bachelor's list. As the second among eight siblings, and among four of the unmarried ones, it was both a relief to see my brothers married to remarkable women who share our family values and even similar personality traits. But pondering on their married state also made me realize that pretty soon, every little kid that I once helped raise will have flown the coop and have their own families; their own little world to rule. I know their lives will always be intertwined with ours yet, inside of the bigger circle of "ours", there will always be their version of "mine." As someone who loves deeply, exclusion to that "mine" scares me.

I fear for them somehow, as they fully forge ahead on their own. Are they really ready? Have I done my best as a sister? Have I taught them everything I can to equip them well? To love your family as your best friends is to love expecting to be hurt at every turn. Fearsome? Worse.

Indeed, to love is to be deadly scared, yet it also means being brave enough to trust. When someone means so much, our first instinct is to protect, sometimes to the detriment of freedom and of growth of ourselves and those we love. Love then becomes a chain that binds instead of an invisible force that bonds. When we insist to control those we love instead of providing guidance and options, we box them in. We make them dependent on us and therefore, they become weak and unable to grow their own wings in order to explore and experience the world for themselves. Because we cannot let go, we also become bound, unable to pursue our own dreams, and chart our own life because we take so  much of our precious time looking after others who can, and will only be empowered if they learn to look after themselves.  Yes, love requires trust. We must learn to trust those we love and let them grow in responsibility over their own life. Otherwise we all become caged birds who cannot fly free, be independent, and in time, even sing because we have this great burden of another's life on our shoulders and within our hearts.

As I sought to find calm in the midst of my fears, I then remembered how I am greatly loved. Unconditionally, graciously, with trust in my inherent power to be all that I can possibly become- a love that allows for freedom and growth in a million unexpected ways. It is a love that, whenever I stumble, whenever my own strength fails me, gives me the freedom to surrender; to freely fall into this all-encompassing safety net to find comfort, and after awhile, the strength and courage to try again and again.

With every painful lesson on forgiveness and acceptance that I have been through while all these events have been going on, I realized that it is time to let go. That somehow, I have to just trust that I, as a sister and as someone who loves them very much, have done my best for them. Perhaps in God's perfect plan, it already is the time for them to do their best for others too. All I can do now is to continue to love; to become part of that safety net- that One Great Love that builds, binds, protects, and sets free.
August Bernadette

kaigachi is a conjugation of the Japanese term "kigaicha" or crazy. It roughly translates as "crazy about something."

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious." - C.Jung

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