Life Lessons in Fear Fighting Love & Friendship

Letting Go of Someone You Love

You know how sometimes you think about if your life would’ve lined up a little bit differently, you might have missed out on something wonderful? 

The stars aligned for me back when I was 22. I was still in college at the time, and I was working just a few hours at the Gap. (Spent all my money in the store, but that’s not the point here.)

I had some extra time in my schedule, and I decided I would stop in to Big Brothers, Big Sisters to see what it was all about. I’ve always had a love for volunteering, and since I was studying to be a teacher, this seemed perfect.

It was summertime, and although I don’t usually wear skirts, I had this white flowy one I’d been saving for a hot day. You’ll see in a minute why it played into the whole stars aligning thing.

I walked into the building and was greeted by an older woman. I explained my interest, and she sat me down to complete the screening.

After a while of talking, she said:

“I think I have the perfect child for you. We’ve had her on the list for a some time. We’ve been waiting for someone really girly who can help her with those types of things. She lives only with her father and brother. Her mother recently passed away.”

I looked down at my skirt, realizing I must have given off just the right impression, and quickly agreed.

“There’s one problem. You may not want to be matched with her because she lives about twenty minutes away, out in the country. Would you be ok traveling back and forth?”

As a [broke] college student, I did hesitate. It would be a lot of gas money, especially bringing her into town to spend time doing an activity and bringing her all the way back. But how could I turn this down? 

Fortunately, that’s only the beginning of our story. My “little sister” and I have been matched since that summer day 7 years ago. If I wrote about all the lessons she’s taught me over the years, you’d get tired of reading.

So, I’ll say this.

She is the most remarkable, resilient, intelligent, thoughtful, responsible and kind little girl I’ve ever encountered. Everyone who meets her is impressed, saying she is wise beyond her years.

She’s had to be.

I have a million stories like this one where her advice made me think, but I’ll start with this from yesterday.

**

I still travel to pick her up, bring her into town, and return her home. The long car ride always gives us an opportunity to catch up. I ask how school is going, how is her family, how are her friends, and I listen as she updates me on her life as a teenager. {Still can’t believe she’s a teenager now!}

She starts telling me about her dog.

“Well, we have to get rid of the dog. I wrote an ad yesterday for Craigslist.”

“Really? Why do you have to give her away?”

“She’s been aggressive, and it’s hard to predict. She bit me one time, and I knew it wasn’t a good sign. I didn’t want to tell anyone, but I had to. Then she bit me again, and I knew it was time to let her go.”

“Oh,” I replied, thinking if I were her age, I probably wouldn’t have told anyone about the biting to save myself from having to lose my dog. “Won’t you miss her? You love her so much.”

“Yes, I love her. But, I know it’s time to let her go. When she bit me the first time, I thought maybe we could fix it. Even after working with her, she bit me again. I don’t have the resources to train her. It doesn’t matter how much I love her, it’s becoming dangerous.”

At this point, I half chuckle to myself thinking about how, once again, she’s proving she is even more brave and wise at 15 than I am at 29.

Here, all this time, I’ve been absolutely clinging desperately to a relationship even as it becomes more and more dangerous, claiming love will save it.

She goes on to tell me she included information in the listing about how the dog would be better off with special attention and training, and she would love to remain in the country where she could run and get exercise.

I think to myself how selfless it is to consider her dog might also be happier somewhere else.

Sometimes all the love in the world isn’t enough, and sometimes love means letting go.

 

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