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Letting Go (in memory of John Sassani)

Letting Go

in memory of John Sassani

In the beginning

the thing is taking hold.

Picture the tiny fingers encircling yours

and gripping with surprising strength.

There was a time when

your tiny fingers learned to do the same.

Thousands of days follow,

with the order of the day still to

take hold

of knowledge

of love

of skill

of gains of every kind.

Take hold.

How strange it seems after all those days

that the most gripping chapter

of the story may be

the letting go. Be it

in old age, or by loss too early,

we become less able to take hold of the new

less able to maintain our grip

on the old and familiar.

How to learn the art

and accept the beauty

of letting go?

Each path is unique and

in a manner solitary.

In the midst of rich community

you heard the call to let go,

beginning with the deep within

of memory.

I cannot know how hard that must have been

or whether you spoke of it thus or not.

Perhaps it was beyond words, from the first.

But I know the letting go is always mutual,

for we who are letting go, and those

who are compelled to let go of us.

Those who still in their time of taking hold

hear an unfamiliar invitation to gently

generously and with gratitude let go,

to release you into the good God from whom

you graciously came to birth

and took hold,

and in the end, let go.

I remember you in the early years of taking hold.

You did it well.  With a combination of skill and tenderness and faith.

A winning combination.

In those years the thought of letting go,

if ever we thought it,

seemed only for the old, and a thousand lifetimes away.

But it comes at last, on its own time

and on its own terms, the letting go.

And you have done it, I pray, just as well

as the taking hold.

Pray we do the same in due course,

good priest, good man, good friend to many.

(J. McGinty, 4/24/19)

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Author:

A native of the North Shore of Boston, I currently live on Long Island, New York. I worked at Boston College as the Acting Director of The Church in the 21st Century Center until August, 2010 and served until November 2016 as Canon for Formation, and Dean of the George Mercer Jr. School of Theology of the Diocese of Long Island. I am now Rector at the Church of Saint Anselm of Canterbury in Shoreham, New York.

2 thoughts on “Letting Go (in memory of John Sassani)

  1. Deeply moving reflection, John; your friendship must have been a great gift to inspire it. Until the last lines, I thought it was written for your mother because it spoke to me deeply as a mother. Thank you.

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