While I am always striving to become more holy, this week I’ve learned the importance of becoming more hole-y.
In my very first class of graduate school, one of my new professors introduced the idea of living life while carrying around a net. We all have a metaphorical net that stays with us as we go throughout our life. We catch some important things, while other not-so-important things sweep by and just flow through the net. We hold onto the useful things, and let go of the things that don’t benefit us. It all works in a pretty nice balance. Well, until it doesn’t.
Some people carry around a net that has holes that are entirely too large. Everything passes through and nothing really sticks. The negative aspects of life don’t linger, but along with them even the monumental and beautiful moments just sweep through without a second thought.
Other people carry around a net with no holes. Everything becomes trapped and tussled around in an unharmonious jumble. The profound mixes with the mundane. The inconsequential takes the space of meaning. Every aspect of life becomes another burden to drag around.
For years, I lived an un-hole-y life.
In this time, I held tightly onto all the aspects of my being, including the positive, but those quickly became drowned out by all the other junk filling the space around me. By holding onto all these things, I didn’t know how to filter out the unimportant. Everything was something to clutch onto. A comment about my weight? It went in the net. A poor grade on an assignment? I carried it around. Indecision? Caught in the web. Friend’s troubles? In they went. And on and on and on.
I carried it all around. Every. Little. Thing. And you know what? It was HEAVY. The extra weight I dragged around with me stole away energy from the things that used to bring me joy, whittled down trust from loving relationships, and provided comfort in a place I shouldn’t have been comfortable. I couldn’t let go of the things that hurt me, and I couldn’t enjoy the things that tried to help me. I got so used to this way of life that I forgot that the net I was carrying was supposed to be freeing, not a death sentence.
My time of deepest despair is marked by a cavern of nets with no holes.
I held onto everything, hoping for something, and ended up with nothing.
My perception of the world was so dysfunctional that I didn’t even know that I was allowed to have holes in my net. I didn’t know that I wasn’t required to trudge through life carrying everything with me. In the many years since this point, I have slowly but steadily learned how to let things pass through the net that flows around and behind me. I was blessed with brave people who jumped into my net with me and cut some holes. I had friends help me carry the load while I sorted out what to keep and what to let go. I saw a counselor who taught me that it’s okay to be imperfect. I didn’t realize how heavy my burdens were until I wasn’t carrying them around anymore.
It’s easy to fall into the temptation of wanting to do everything and wanting to be everything, but grasping onto everything creates a messy muddle where nothing can really shine. It’s easy to be lured into taking on too many things, caring about what other people think, holding onto pain, or whatever else fills our nets, but we don’t have to carry those things with us forever. Letting go doesn’t negate meaning or purpose, but sets us free to be our best selves.
What do you have in your net? Patch some holes, cut some new ones, mend some strings, and live your best life. You deserve it!
In Joy, Monica
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.