“If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever.” Unknown
As a young girl I heard my parents use this adage often: “Time flies.” I also remember how time seemed to drag on. So I concluded that since my parents were older everything probably seemed faster to them. Yet despite my adolescent doubt in my parents’ wisdom, they assured me that soon times would be different. The years would fly by and I would no longer be their responsibility. One day, I would be out living on my own. When this happened, as all good parents, they explained to me that they would let me go. They said that this was the only way that I could really mature and grow. Then I would fly, soar even. As usual, my parents were right. How quickly the years have flown. Now I am the parent who has to let go.
It seemed like only yesterday that I had a bouncing baby boy to bless our home, who was a handful for inexperienced parents to manage. As the summers and winters repeatedly passed, he quickly became a toddler, then a preschooler, followed by kindergartener, first grader, middle schooler and finally a high school graduate. The time raced by and now it is our son’s turn to fly and soar. After all of our godly training, discipline and guidance the end result is the same - we must let him go.
Summer is nearly over. For most of us, the first day of school has come and gone. For parents and students, the wistful days of summer are too short. Yet the new school year brings feelings of excitement, anxiety, optimism, fear, eagerness, uncertainty and great anticipation. Despite our multitude of mixed emotions, we all hope for a wonderful experience. But in order to do so, both parents and students must let go. My husband and I learned this lesson last week as we sent our only son off to Andrews University in Michigan.
The process of letting go or creating developmental individuality is not easy, yet it is essential. The phases that a young adult experiences who is disconnecting, leaving the nest, launching out, becoming his own person, growing independent and becoming a free moral agent are the components of a healthy and necessary separation.
The Bible tells us that God our Father also experienced this separation. He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins (Jn. 3:16). God let go so that we could grow in grace and become Christ-centered free moral agents. Jesus Christ came to this Earth and lived with us so that one day we can go to Heaven and live with Him. Letting go is more than just an exercise in growing older. It allows our children to make their own personal and spiritual decisions that will shape the rest of their lives. Letting go is not easy, yet spiritually it is definitely essential.