11: An act of honesty.

- September 25, 2016 -

There is a quote by Jeffrey McDaniel which has long been at the forefront of my mind: “There’s something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they’re experts at letting things go.”

What struck me about his words was the emphasis on honesty. Indeed, there is something incredibly honest about being able to acknowledge when it’s time to let go.

I can’t help but think, then, that there is a dishonesty in continuing to hold onto something once its time has passed. After all, in those situations, it tends to be the case that everyone involved knows that things aren’t working anymore — they simply don’t want to be the ones to admit it.

. . .

You see, unlike us, trees don’t cling to their old leaves, use them as a means to keep warm during the winter, and then do what they can to patch things up once spring comes along. No, the trees let their dying leaves fall, bare themselves to the elements for a few cold months, and begin anew with the arrival of spring.

It is a cycle of perpetual growth, and it is made possible only by letting go.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, in his usual eloquence, speaks of precisely this same phenomenon: “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” If each new season brings with it some necessary form of rebirth, why is it that we’re so reluctant to do the same?

. . .

Taking a cue from nature’s endless wisdom, then, I’ve started to become very intentional about letting go.

As gently as I know how to, I’ve started detaching myself from the people, places, and things which no longer fit as snugly as they once did. I’ve started re-evaluating the obligations which, although once made in good faith, are no longer serving their intended purpose. Above all, perhaps, I’ve started saying the things which have long since remained unsaid.

Inevitably, these kinds of changes occasionally give way to an uncomfortable transition. What keeps me moving forward is the knowledge that, uncomfortable as it may be, it certainly isn’t as uncomfortable, counterproductive, or stifling as choosing to cling to something which should already have been let go.


Looking to the trees,
– J


This piece comes from Jana Marie’s newsletter, The Sunday Letters. You can sign up to receive future editions below.