Cleaning out unused or outgrown clothes from the wardrobe normally gives me a sense of great accomplishment. Not only can the clothes stop taking up valuable space in the wardrobe, but they can be very useful to others and a sense of joy comes through knowing they are going on to new homes. But every now and then, a certain item of my kids’ clothes will make me get a bit emotional.
I was folding and putting Luke’s outgrown clothes in a bag for a friend who has a nearly one year-old boy, when I looked at one more piece: his toddler raincoat. Ever since purchasing it, I have had memories of Luke wearing that coat. It has gone everywhere from being worn at the zoo and the park, numerous trips and on so many routine days. It would be easy to hold onto this coat for sentimental value but then I looked at the size label which read 1.5-2 years. Luke is definitely 3.5 years now! It was time to say farewell to the little raincoat.
It’s not so much about the coat itself as there are so many different coats out there, all useful and functional, but it’s about the little beaming boy in it, ready to explore his world. A few memories I recall are of him digging up dirt from the garden, strolling through a grey day in San Francisco, and playing at the Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens, all while wearing his coat. It can sometimes be hard to let go of a special item of clothing.
But equally so, it makes it more meaningful to be able to give up the raincoat and realise my friend’s little boy will make new memories while wearing it, and I hope Anca will delight in seeing Luca continuing to explore his world.
Sometimes life is similar to the little raincoat. We try so hard to hold onto things physically, emotionally in our hearts, mentally in our minds and spiritually. But this life is full of change and with change, sometimes things have to be let go of.
Physically, maybe you have some really special items in your home and the thought of letting things go is difficult. Emotionally, maybe you’re feeling really good about life and you’d like to hold onto everything trying to keep it together, or on the contrary, perhaps you have been hurt and it is difficult to let go of the pain. Mentally, maybe you’re struggling to have confidence and find it challenging to stay positive. Spiritually, sometimes it can be difficult to let go of the baggage in our lives that stunts our growth in Jesus.
I’m personally challenging myself to let go of the belief that I am in control. Sure I make lots of decisions all day long but I’m trying to give up my sense of trying to control my life. I am in God’s faithful hands and I can trust Him to structure my life within His ‘big picture’ Kingdom plans. I am choosing to evolve with change in my life so that it spurs me on toward more growth.
So wherever you find yourself today, start thinking of what you want to let go of whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. There are lots of reasons to ‘let go’ but particularly with recognising that a freedom is released when we learn to let go. We can move on and change into better people, less inward facing but rather thinking of our lives within the larger community and serving God.
So farewell little raincoat! It is now time for you to move on! Thank you for the reminder to not hold onto material things as precious but rather the people and memories made. Change is so much better when we embrace it as an opportunity for growth and a new beginning.