Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent. Lent is a time of reflection in preparation for Easter. This year the theme of Lent in my life is, “letting go.” Every Lent our family let’s go of one of our luxuries that we all enjoy – dessert. It is good to let this go for a time. It helps us appreciate that dark chocolate and ice-cream are gifts of God to enjoy but they are not daily necessities. But letting go of dessert is really quite minor and primarily symbolic, especially this year.

The most tangible and immediate letting go happened last weekend. Our brother-in-law, Gary Pollard, died of cancer at the age of 63. Cyndy and I flew out to Winnipeg for the burial service and memorial service and to be with family during this time of grieving and remembering. After his body in ashes was returned to the ground we were each given a helium balloon to release into the air. It was a powerful emotional symbol of letting go. His body is free of the cancer. The balloons disappeared directly into the bright sunshine.

We are also letting go in our own family. Our eldest son is getting married this summer to a beautiful young woman. Marriage of our children is a tangible letting go where they intentionally begin a new family unit. They are both in their early 20’s and still developing their own identities and overcoming all the anxieties associated with that. Making plans for the wedding day is good practice for living life together. We have experience at planning a wedding but it is time to let go and let them make decisions and take responsibilities.

We are also letting go of our second son who is the first of our children to live for an extended time in another city. His time there has not been what he anticipated and so he is struggling with those unmet expectations and wondering what his life calling is and what might be ahead for him. It is difficult to watch your own flesh and blood struggling but we are letting go.

This summer our daughter will be moving out to work at camp and in the fall will be embarking on an adventure of geographical and spiritual travel. We know that she will be traveling to Winnipeg, Quebec, Paris and western Africa but where she will travel in her soul we leave up to God. We are letting go.

And isn’t that what life is about. It is about letting go of things and trusting God.