What better time to focus on Change than with the arrival of Spring? In the South, we have flowers in full bloom, cool mornings and an occasional storm, and longer days. You can feel the change in the air. This time of year, usually has people ready to let go of winter and embrace spring, and this year even more so. So many people seem to be coming out of hibernation, glad to have the pandemic (hopefully) behind them while recognizing the need to remain vigilant about protecting themselves from any resurgence of the virus. People are gathering again in groups, grateful to be able to be together physically. Spring has arrived, and with it a new beginning. It is time to decide what to hold on to, what to let go of, and what is new that we want to embrace.
As for what to hold on to, Mike and I loved having good friends visit us at Oak Island last weekend. We ate too much food, some played golf, (all but me!) and we played cards late into the night. Mike and I learned how to play Hand and Foot, taking a break to watch the Duke/Carolina game, which for us Duke fans, ended on a disappointing note. We would have loved to see Coach K end his stellar career differently, but it was not to be. Congratulations to UNC for making it to the NCAA finals, although they suffered a hard-fought loss to Kansas. Now, can we please talk about something else for a while?!
As for what is new that we have embraced, we enjoyed meeting new friends and participating with them in a new (for us) event, the Blessing of the Fleet. This event welcomes the boating season and is open to anyone who wants to receive the blessing. The Blessing of the Fleet is held in waters across the United States. In Southport, NC the 27th Annual Blessing of the Fleet was hosted by the Cape Fear Yacht Club. One of the ministers of St. Philips Episcopal Church gave the blessing, which was “As you journey on the water this year may God grant you peace and prosperity and bring you home safe again.” A palm frond was waved and a carnation was given to each boat that passed. There was also a part of the ceremony that had the breaking of bread, with the bread in the form of an anchor. In a paper found on the internet written about what is reported as the first Blessing of the Fleet held in Stonington, Connecticut in 1955 the bread is discussed, connecting it to the life-giving bread of the Eucharist. We enjoyed watching the festivities of the Southport Blessing of the Fleet from the dock of Provisions Restaurant in the Southport Yacht Basin.
New friends and new experiences may make letting go even more important, to make room for the new. What should we let go of? How about letting go of stuff, including emotional baggage? Life is short, even for me, a 70-year-old. I am amazed at the growth of our grandchildren and can hardly believe that our oldest is soon to graduate from high school and is on her college quest. It is so true that the “Days pass slowly but the years fly by.” Yet we live our days and years as if we will be around forever. Some of us fail to make decisions about our physical stuff, leaving it for our children to wade through. Even more tragic, some hold onto emotional pain, unable, or worse yet, unwilling, to let it go. Until there is no more time, and it is too late.
I am reminded of my dear Uncle Barry, who passed away last summer. Our family’s loss of him is still raw. But the life lessons he taught me, without even meaning to teach, will stay with me forever. One of those lessons was “keep going as long as you can, for you never know when you will not be able to.” Uncle Barry lived that motto, not giving in to slowing down and eventually stopping until illness and death took over. In his memory, I will keep on going as long as I can.
I want to hold on to all that is good about life, especially health, family and friends, and memories. I will deal with the difficulty of holding on to the physical stuff, and gradually let it go. I will attempt to allow my memories and a few physical mementos to suffice for a life full of experiences.
I will embrace new experiences and new people, holding on to loved ones who have enriched my life through the years. I will guard our family’s traditions, and allow them to change as needed, or as they naturally evolve.
What about you? What do you plan to/need to hold on to? What is it time to let go of? And what can you/will you embrace that is new? Let Spring be a metaphor for living.
Remember, keep going as long as you can.