Love and Letting Go

Lot’s of people from my generation remember the cliche’, “If you love something, set it free.” Sting wrote a song about it, numerous satires came from it, etc. Well, it is true, but there is more depth to it than a lot of people imagine.

Many years ago, I had a student of whom my wife and I were exceptionally fond, so much so that we asked her to housesit for us and we joked about adopting her if she ever needed it (not a slam on her mother; she’s wonderful, too!) She was one of those students who would come by during lunch or after school to talk philosophy and I was one of her coaches.

I was delighted, then, to find that she had returned to this area after grad school and was in a career that made me very proud. Sadly, she wanted nothing to do with me. With my thick skull, it took a while to realize that trying to find out why she shunned me was only making matters worse and was intruding on her privacy; therefore, I “set this love free.”

However, what doesn’t get mentioned is that a person has to set him or herself free, also. For months, I have been plagued with self-recrimination about what a horrible person I must be to drive this wonderful young woman out of my family’s life, and how stupid I must be that I can’t figure out what I did wrong. Only in the past week have I finally realized that such thinking accomplishes nothing.

In conclusion, the late singer-songwriter Dave Mason wrote, “There ain’t no good guy. There ain’t no bad guy. There’s only you and me and we just disagree.” I may never know what the disagreement is about, but that isn’t important.


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