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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Let Go

Love What You Got

There ain't no way you can hold onto something that wants to go, you understand? You can only love what you got while you got it.”
Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn-Dixie)

This kind of plain talk is common here in the deep South—for the most part, people don't try to dress up their language with a lot of nuance and symbolism. There's not much metaphor or innuendo; just straight talk. When I go other places, especially to the northern reaches of this country, people are far more circumscribed in their manner of speaking. I find myself wanting to say, “Get to the point, man! What do you mean?” Southerns typically ask too many questions, and breech too many boundaries held by generations of reserved New Englanders, and aristocratic New Yorkers.

There's a temptation, too, to write people who use colloquial language off as dumb. If you throw an occasional “ain't” into a sentence, you may be considered uncouth, uneducated or crude. But sometimes “ain't” is clearly the best choice. For example: “It is what it is, and it ain't what it ain't.” Translation: You can't make something be what it is not.

With regard, then, to Kate DiCamillo's quote above, when something wants to go, let it go. Hanging on to a person, or a job, or a life stage once it is clearly over, crushes the life right out of whatever juice remains. It's like squeezing a butterfly in your hand to keep it from flying away. Like putting a beautiful wild bird into a cage so you can look at it whenever you want. That bird is going to bolt the first time you open the door to feed it. If you love something, or someone, give them the freedom to stay or go, and then stand back and see what happens. “Love what you got while you got it,” but don't be afraid to let go.

                                               In the Spirit,

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