April 9, 2014
H is for…
Wait, I thought you were talking about negative stuff and then speaking positive stuff into the negative space. How is holding negative?
Well, it’s not always negative.
There’s holding puppies and kittens. There’s holding babies and small children. There’s holding someone in your heart. There’s holding on for dear life. There’s holding someone’s hand. There’s holding a lover in your arms.
No, holding is not negative.
Except when it is.
Have you ever held something so tightly that you crushed it? A flower, perhaps, or an animal kingdom specimen you had intended to take home and show mommy?
Have you ever held something so firmly that you choked it? An expectation, perhaps, or a relationship, or an insistence on some skewed reality that you were certain was the utter truth?
Have you ever held onto a plan with such a death grip that you missed opportunity when it arrived looking like some ratty tatty homeless distraction?
Diana Glyer, writer and professor, has spoken about holding plans loosely. In speaking about writing plans, she suggests that we consider it the same way we think of our plans for a road trip. We have a pretty good idea about the destination, where we’d like to end up, where we’d like to overnight on our way. We have some thoughts about which roads and highways we think we’ll take.
But if we want a real road trip adventure, we hold those plans loosely, remaining open to roadside stops, detours, restaurant runs, and unlikely side trips suggested by obscure signs or garish billboards. Sometimes these prove to be disappointing…but even those letdowns provide the stories that the road trippers will tell for years to come. It’s often in the unexpected that we find the meaning, the story, the better plan.
But a clenched hand cannot receive the gifts.
I’m a holder. I’m not quite a hoarder—I do purge things a few times each year. But I am sentimental and emotional and sometimes excitable and occasionally even obsessive. I hold onto many things: books, papers, clothes that might fit again someday, old ideas and habits, people.
I want to hold lovingly, loosely, not crushingly.
I have a lot to learn.