“Trees show us how lovely it is to let go.” I heard this quote from German novelist and poet Hermann Hesse in a sermon this fall and it really stuck with me. As I’ve watched the seasons change outside my front window this year culminating in this gray day, I’ll admit I’ve struggled with letting go of the losses of 2020. Cherished family members and friends. Long-anticipated events that evaporated. Normal gatherings that we formerly took for granted.
Yet the past is exactly that, the past. Pouting about the train-wreck, dumpster fire, adjective-defying mess of this “pandemic year” will not give us energy to go forward. That momentum will come from dropping the baggage and embracing the brighter days ahead. Through the miracles of modern science, there are vaccines that will help society move forward. Plus we have hopefully learned lessons about the power of collective action and public health. We can let go of things that divide us, and look for those that unite.
There is no replacing the people who no longer are with us, but I suggest the most positive tribute we can provide is honoring their memories with kindness, caring and being a force for good in the world. Looking beyond ourselves can go a long way to making 2021 a year that we DO want to remember. Like a leaf, we can glow in afternoon sun, sway in the breeze, and ultimately let go according to the calling of the season. That does indeed sound lovely.