Leaving the children behind. The hardest thing I have ever done in my life, to date, was to leave my children in the care of their father when we separated.
I needed to re-form my life.
Over the 16 years of my first marriage, I had let go of my dreams. I had arrived at the cranny of the corner into which I had painted myself. It was time to jump or asphyxiated.
Letting God Or Leaving It To Chance?
It all started with deep-seated unhappiness with my life. I had a great career in medicine, two healthy and happy children and a burgeoning spirituality. Ironically, it was that my spirituality that exposed a deep “soul-poverty” that could not be denied.
Like so many women, I had “settled” and the yearning in my spirit was becoming difficult to ignore. Despite my white-picket-fence life, daily the gnawing feeling intensified. It was suggesting that I was doing nothing of value and that my life was increasingly aimless. Ostensibly, I was “letting God lead.” That was my misguided impression that I was doing nothing but following God’s command.
Discipleship, as I was beginning to understand it, means “if anyone would follow me [God/Christ/Spirit/Source], let them leave their spouse, their children, their lives… .”
Did I need to love the will of God more than my family but could I?
The plug was being pulled in the calm peaceful soaking tub of my life and the warm water (and I) were swirling downward in a powerful vortex – down, down…
Give Up “Precious Things”
So like Abraham in the Bible, I was being asked to give up that “precious thing.” The things that occupied my all, the greatest love of my life, my all-consuming passion – my children Jer and Nads. If I wanted to fully know God, I had now been brought to that point where I had to relinquish them.
It is my belief, that God/Christ/Spirit/Source will allow nothing – NOTHING – to come between me and Him. My whole future rested on the decision I would make.
So I left them in the care of their father.
With no clue as to where I was going, when or how, it was irrational to think I could take them on this journey. It was not a gracious relinquishment. It was most definitely not a sweet and holy “Oh Lord, I hand them over to you!”
The Children Were Depressed And Resented Me
My son was depressed and many times he brought me to tears as we tried to resolve his issues with the new situation. My daughter harboured harsh feelings towards me, believing I had abandoned her. It was hard!
I cried every day. Valiantly, I tried to remain relevant in their lives but was dying inside! As the pain mounted and built to a crescendo, I relinquished them but it was not pleasant or elegant. Instead, I shoved them into God’s hands and care with a “Heh! See dem yah! Mi cyan dweet nuh more.” [TRANSLATION: Here! See them here! I cannot do this anymore].
So began the re-formation of my relationship with my children. I got them back, my “precious thing”, my children but my relationship with them was forever changed. Leaving them did that. I love them with all my heart but that love has changed as well. I do not feel that I “own” them or that ensuring their happiness is my function in life.
Relinquish To Gain The Greater
They are now happy, well-adjusted adults with relationships, careers and children of their own. They call me every day, not at my urging but because they want to. In letting them go, I allowed God to work in and through all our lives (without me trying to play the intervening midwife). Now, I have restored to me “the years that the locusts had eaten.”
The moral of my story, if there is one: If you love someone, you have to let them go. If they are meant to be yours, they will come back!
Have you ever had to choose between finding yourself and releasing a family member, relationship, children or even a prized job? Share your story of relinquishment with us by posting a comment here. You can also post on our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
Continue to have a sacred journey as you embrace your experiences of letting go.
Dr Janice Chang