Arno was 35 years older than me when we started our conversations. I had just gone to work with Dad in our textile business and the relationship was already pretty rocky. Dad was known as an impatient man. At his funeral one of his friends said to me, “Bob was the kind of person who’d turn right on red even if he wasn’t going that way, just to keep moving.”
Over the course of our first 3 years together my brown hair started turning gray and thinning at a noticeable rate. Arno knew well my frustration and my desire to leave this situation, but he gave me some wise counsel. He said, “Let go of what you don’t need and carry your burdens lightly.” He saw that the intensity of my frustration with my father was taking its toll.
I realize now that when he told me this he was about the same age I am now and that life had shown him all to clearly that holding on to things he couldn’t change or adapt to led to great unhappiness. He left behind almost everything he had in Germany, including family members who were convinced that Hitler would not be as bad for the Jews as some thought. He knew about letting go of things and travelling lightly.
So today I ask myself, what am I holding on to that can be let go? Where am I allowing myself to be stuck by looking at the closed door, rather than looking for the door that is opening? The world many of us have known has ended. It is a new day, for better or for worse. It’s time to put down those attitudes, habits, relationships and possessions that no longer serve us and learn to carry our burdens more lightly.