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Hold Fast or Just Let It Go

  Hold fast, and let go .Understand this paradox, and you stand At the  very gate of wisdom.

  The art of living is to know when to hold fast and when to let go. For 

life is a paradox: itenjoins us to cling to its many gifts even while

 it ordains their eventual relinquishment. Therabbis of old put it this  way: "a man comes to this world with his fist clenched, but when he dies,his  hand is open."

  Surely we ought to hold fast to life, for it is wondrous, and full of  a beauty that breaks throughevery pore of God's own earth. We know that  is so, but all too often we recognize this truth onlyin our backward  glance when remember what it was and then suddenly realize that it is  no more.

  We remember a beauty that faded, a love that waned. But we remember  with far GREat painthat we did not see that beauty when it flowered,  that we failed to respond with love when it wastendered.

  A recent experience re-taught me this truth. I was hospitalized following a severe heart  attackand had been in intensive care for days. It was not a pleasant  place.

  One morning, I had to have some additional tests. The required machines  were located in abuilding at the opposite end of the hospital, so I  had to be wheeled across the courtyard on agurney.

  As we emerged from our unit, the sunlight hit me. That's all there was  to my experience. Justthe light of the sun. And yet how beautiful it  was—how warning, how sparking, how brilliant!

  I looked to see whether anyone else realized that sun's golden glow,  but everyone washurrying to and fro, most with eyes fixed on the ground.  Then I remembered how often, too, hadbeen indifferent to the grandeur  of each day, too preoccupied with petty and sometimes evenmean concerns  to respond to the splendor of it all.


  The insight gleaned from that experience is really as commonplace as was  the experienceitself: life's gifts are precious-but we are too heedless of them.

  Here then is the first pole of life's paradoxical demands on us: Never  too busy for the wonderand the awe of life. Be reverent before each  dawning day. Embrace each hour. Seize each goldenminute.

  Hold fast to life…but not so fast that you cannot let go.

  This is second side of life's coin, the opposite pole of its paradox:  we must accept our losses,and learn how to let go.

  This is not an easy lesson to learn, especially when we are young and  think that the world isours to command, that whatever we desire with  the full force of our passionate being can, nay, will,be ours. But then  life moves along to confront us with realities, and slowly but surely  this secondtruth dawns upon us.

  At every stage of life we sustain losses—and grow in the process. We begin our independentlives only when we  emerge from the womb and lose its protective shelter. We enter a  proGREssionof schools; then we leave our mothers and fathers and our  childhood homes. We get married andhave children and then have to let  them go. We confront the death of our parents and ourspouses. We face  the gradual or not so gradual waning of our own strength. And ultimately,  

 as theopen and closed hand suggests, we must confront the inevitability 

of our own demise, losingourselves, as it were, all that we were or 

dreamed to be.

  But why should we be reconciled to life's contradictory demands? Why

 fashion things ofbeauty when beauty is evanescent? Why give our heart 

in love when those we love will ultimatelybe torn from our grasp?

  In order to resolve this paradox, we must seek a wider perspective, 

viewing our lives asthrough windows that open on eternity. Once we do

 that, we realize that though our lives arefinite, our deeds on earth

 weave a timeless pattern.

       Life is never just being. It's a becoming, a relentless flowing

 on. Our parents live on thoughtus, and we will live on though our 

children. The institutions we build endure, and we will endurethough 

them. The beauty we fashion cannot be dimmed by death. Our flesh may 

perish; ourhands will wither, but that which they create in beauty and

 goodness and truth lives on for all timeto come.

  Don't spend and waste your lives accumulating objects that will only 

turn to dust and ashes.Pursue not so much the material as the ideal, for

 ideals alone invest life with meaning and are ofenduring worth.



Add love to a house and you have a home. Add righteousness to a city 


and you have acommunity. Add truth to a pile of red brick and you have 


school. Add religion to the humblest ofedifices and you have a sanctuary.


 Add justice to the far flung round of human endeavor andyou have 


civilization. Put them all together, exalt them above their present


 imperfections, add tothem the vision of humankind redeemed, forever 


free of need and strife and you have a futurelighted with the colors 


of hope.




















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