I’ve been living in this place, a sort of in-between place, where no matter what I do, there is still clutter. If I let go of something, I immediately find a way to replace it with something else. I can’t just let something go to let it go, and it leaves me with this weighted sense that no matter what I do, I’m not doing it right. It’s a terrible unsettling in-between space to be stuck.
I went to the bank on Friday to close out an old savings account of my dad’s. It was one of those little tasks that was left unfinished. When I went last year I was told that along with the paperwork I had brought with me I needed a copy of his death certificate. I never managed to find a copy and go back. Until last Friday.
Todd came up with one and feeling like this little errand would be a big sign I had let go and that I was moving on, I took the time. I felt a sense of lightness and freedom as I parked my car, pulled up the App on my phone, and plugged the meter for 30 minutes.
The meeting didn’t go at all according to plan. The first good news is, I didn’t get a parking ticket… The bad news? Well, I left with more than I went in with.
The death certificate wasn’t enough. I needed more. Although I was on Dad’s checking account and although I was executor of his estate, he had overlooked adding my name to the adjoining savings account with 426.00 still there. I needed the form from the probate which I should have received at the time, and should have filled out (at the time), claiming my authority to close the account.
Travis, the banker, was very kind and along with the phone conversation he was having with the person on the other end, we had a good conversation of our own. He shared a picture of an ultrasound he had just received. He and his wife would be finding out the sex of their baby the next day. That story of this precious new little life was running parallel with the story going on in my head, remembering all the times Dad and I had been on errands together. I could imagine him in his tan zippered jacket and cap sitting beside me, the few straggly whiskers on his thin neck that he’d miss shaving, his water bottle and red handkerchief both ready and waiting to be used. I could almost feel his presence beside me and his hand holding me steady as I tried to control my growing frustration.
“Let me talk to your manager, Travis,” I finally said. “It’s not you, it’s just this situation is getting the best of me. I don’t care about the 426.00, I wish I could give it to you. The thought of it going to the state just doesn’t seem right. I don’t want that money of my dad’s going to the state. He has grandkids, great grandkids, there’s your new baby. I don’t want it to go to the state. I don’t think he’d like that.”
I didn’t get mad at Travis when he returned without his manager, telling me that he had gone to lunch.
“I’m sure he did,” I said. “When will he be back?”
…He stumbled over his words, “In thirty minutes or so.’
My heart was burning for all the people in need of an advocate, for all those being treated unfairly. I know the bank has rules but are they forgetting about people? “I have wasted too much time here and it is costing me far more than the 426.00. It’s the principle, Travis.” He understood. It wasn’t his fault.
The second bit of good news is that I didn’t lose my temper. Although I wanted to pull out some of my hard earned leadership skill and run someone over, I didn’t.
“I wish you the best of luck with your new baby, Travis,” I said, and then I was the one to stumble. “No, I take that back. My dad would always correct me when I said that. He would say to offer a blessing instead of luck. So I wish you great blessings and I hope you have a blessed day tomorrow with your wife and little one.”
I left and hadn’t let go of anything. In fact I left with much more grief than I had walked in with. I missed my dad terribly and spent the weekend wondering what the heck was wrong with me until I realized this morning that I haven’t let go. I’m still in that place where I feel that no matter what I try to straighten up, I don’t get it right. No matter what I do, it’s not enough.
I went through a few sad and lonely days. I miss my parents, I miss my brother. I’m in transition. I’m in-between. This place inside me is cluttered and the foundation is weak. When the wind blows, the walls shake. It’s chilly. Anyone with any sense would advise me to close it up and move on.
When Dad was nearing death, instead of lying in bed one day, he got up and said, “I’ve decided, instead of thinking about dying, I’m going to think that I’m getting ready to go on a trip!” He approached his last two weeks on earth like he did any other adventure in his life.
He got up everyday and moved through his rituals one by one—weighed himself, took his temperature, swallowed his pills and recorded it all. He read his devotions, put on his tan shirt with the two pockets that held his phone in one and his beeper in the other, buckled his well-worn leather belt to hold up his broken-in baggy bluejeans, and put a fresh bandana in his back pocket.
He ate, read the paper, read the Bible, prayed and snoozed. He was in an in-between place too. But his place was in good order—just enough of this and just enough of that, not too much and not too little, like the Manna, the bread of heaven, God provided for the Israelites each day.
Dad spent a lot of time considering his new Home, studying maps, reading about the people and inhabitants. One who had lived there came regularly to visit with him and told him all about it. The hope of moving there thrilled Dad. He lived with this thrill. He knew that he too would be going to the Father. “The Father!” My mom recognized the Father before she died, the brilliant light and beauty surrounding Him, but too bright to reveal His face.
So what allows us to move on? What allows us to let go? And I have to ask myself something else in all this. What are “hard-earned” leadership skills I have developed over these years, if not that of knowing the heart of God and living it out to the best of my ability? What if my failure to close the savings account, was a message from my Savior..? A heart that burns for others in need of an Advocate is the skill I have been teaching you.
What if…it’s time I move on to live with the hope that’s been set before me. To live with the thrill of the beauty unfolding. To live in an uncluttered space.
Quietly, sitting alone with Jesus, I let go.
I know He is my Advocate. I know the Spirit is my Counselor, I know the Father loves me and just for today, I will offer my thanks, closing the door behind me, leaving the unnecessary clutter, and moving on to that new place where, what I do IS enough, who I am IS enough—not because of me but because of the One who died to set me free.
Photo by Milada Vigerova, Unsplash
What have you learned through leading? I’d love to hear. Maybe we could start a conversation.
I am reflecting on and writing about the past seventeen years in my role of leading a nonprofit. There might be a few things I could share that would help someone else avoid, or at least move through more quickly, some of the challenges I’ve had to move through (dance through ;)).
Anyway, that’s my new goal so I’ve been spending more time writing and less time blogging. Sorry for the disappearance. I have a lot of catching up to do here. I hope you are all well. Sending me best always,