Originally published in the Superior Catholic Herald, February 27, 2014
I have heard these two words so often. Sometimes they’re spoken in a playful manner, sometimes with a demanding command, and sometimes with a high-pitched scream: “Let go!” “Let GO!!” “LET GO!!!”
Like dogs, young and old people alike also seem to have a hard time letting go of things. I’ve met some children who have what they call their “blankie” with them at all times. These are the leftovers of some sort of blanket, towel, garment or any items that seem to bring comfort and security to the young one. Usually, they’re sort of disgusting in appearance which, quite honestly, I kind of like.
I’ve noticed that grownups seem to want their children to let go of and move beyond the strangle hold they have put on their security blankies; their desire for them to do so is probably for good reason.
I have a blankie. It’s really not a blanket, but my little, stuffed, squeaky, security squirrel. I’ve had my squirrelly blankie since I was a puppy. It’s totally mine. Nobody else even gets close to it. This is probably due to the fact that no one dares touch it; for you see, my blankie is either slimy or crunchy to the touch — depending on the amount of time between my mouthing it. And, unlike all my previous squeaky toys, this is the only one I haven’t destroyed. The others met their end during my search for the squeaky noisemakers inside of them.
You see, if truth be known, I’m absolutely fixated on the desire to have my own living, squeaky squirrels. I can’t stop thinking about them. I spend hour upon hour looking out my window, just waiting to see the tree-climbing vermin.
I know every tree they climb. And during those times when I have the freedom to run outside, I go straight to those same trees just hoping that the little critters come down into my grasp.
It would be so great to hear my bishop shout, “Gus! Let go!!” For I know, if that happens, I will have finally captured my own real, live squeaky toy.
Now, it just so happened, back in the fall, at a time when there were still leaves on the trees, I was staying at Patty’s house. Patty is one of the bishop’s younger sisters. It was in her yard at the foot of a big tree that I was finally able to capture my first squirrel. Unlike my squeaky toy at home, when I put this critter in my mouth it didn’t squeak. Regardless, I brought my prize over to Patty, who was gardening.
By the way, when humans dig in their yards, I think they might be burying their own favorite bones, but I don’t know this for sure.
At any rate, in both a commanding and screaming voice, a voice which I’ve heard before for it’s the same tone of voice the bishop used when he called after me the day I had the bottle of Gorilla Glue in my mouth, Patty shouted, “Let go!” and “Drop it!” I did so immediately, since I knew I was a guest at her house.
Soon thereafter, Patty got out the shovel and buried my little treasure. However, when she wasn’t looking, I dug it up again and played with him a little longer. I was able to do this until, once again, she said, “Let go!!” Sad to say, I did, and to this day I have no idea where she put my little furry friend.
It wasn’t until later that I learned the shocking truth about my capture of the squirrel. Unfortunately, I overheard Patty telling her brother on the phone, “Don’t tell Gus, but the squirrel he thinks he so doggedly captured, actually fell from the tree on his own for whatever reason.” As it turns out the squirrel had lost his squeak long before I ever got hold of him.
“Let go” is now what I have to do. Let go of my own mistaken triumph thinking I had control over the demise of the little, furry fellow. Since that time snow has fallen, followed by more and more and more snow. It has covered the leaves and has hidden any sightings of the little squirrels. Today I have become more and more resigned to the fact that I was given the gift of a fallen squirrel.
As of late, I’ve been wondering how many other gifts have been given to me throughout my life — gifts that I had believed were under my conquest and control. There have been many, including the two daily meals I’m served, always done so in my ever-clean doggy bowl. Just maybe this is why I hear the bishop say things like, “Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts which I am about to receive from the bounty through Christ Our Lord. Amen.”
Perhaps now, as I begin to let go of my control over things like squeakies and squirrels, I can become ever more grateful for all that has been given me. Come to think of it, when I am able to open my mouth and let go of my strangle hold on certain things, I seem much more able to receive other good things in my life, offering greater variety and enjoyment.
I write all this because I’m thinking it might have something to do with another saying the bishop often uses, “Let go and let God.” Maybe tomorrow I’ll try to put this one into practice, too. Meanwhile, I was just wondering, has anyone seen my squeaky?
Until we meet again, let go, doing your best to give a bow and a wow to God.