The Practice of Holding On

“Daddy, let go. I can do it myself. You’ll see. I am a big kid now. I want to go into the water and swim. Let go!”

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I sat and watched, from the banks of my favorite meditation spot, as a man held tightly to the hand of a little guy protesting the restriction.

“Let go Daddy. You’re holding me too tight,” the small boy shouted, struggling to free himself from his father’s grip.

The man holding onto the struggling child, did not lessen his grip. Instead he tried to explain to his son why he was not letting go as they stood on the bank of a fast-moving river.

“Son, if I let go of your hand, you might get too close to the river and fall in. The water is cold, deep, and fast. You could get in over your head, and that would be trouble,” he said.

“But I want to get closer to the pretty sparkles in the water,” the little guy insisted. He tugged at his dad’s hand in an effort to free himself.

“I know you think the water looks pretty and like it would be fun to get even closer to where it sparkles and is deep. But I want to keep you safe,” Dad countered.

“I know how to swim,” the little one said defiantly. He finally managed to shake free of his father’s grip.

Dad was stronger, faster, and in good humor. He laughed as he swept his protesting child up and carried him to safety. The little boy let out a scream and began to kick. Dad tried to assure him that he knew best.

I am not sure they ever noticed the witness to their interaction. I smiled as I remembered the times I rescued my son from danger. I shook my head and giggled until I realized that this had not only been a father/son conflict, it had represented a teaching moment from God to me.

I watched the beautiful, fast water with its sparkles and promise of exciting adventure. I thought about God’s warnings in the face of my protests and how I sometimes try to convince Him I am a big girl and can handle whatever rough, dangerous situation I am heading toward.

And just like the loving father of that young child, my heavenly Father always knows what is best for His children. He sees the dangers lurking in the waters that lure us with promises offered by the world. He guards against snares and barbs often hidden from unseeing eyes. He watches over every detail and is never far away when I am tempted to jump into the deep end and maybe get in over my head.

I left my little spot by the river that day tossing a longing glance toward the sparkling, rushing water. That longing was fleeting though because I learned long ago what can happen when I choose to step off the bank and end up wishing I had heeded His advice. I truly wish I could say I will never venture from the safety of my father’s arms. But I am a human adult with a stubborn self-will often concerned with satisfying my ego, instead of treasuring my well-being.

My lesson that day was not to make me feel guilty about times I have ignored God’s teachings and warnings. It was not about rehashing some of the painful consequences of choosing to step out from under the protection of my protector. No, the lesson was meant to remind me that each day I must be consciously aware of my need to practice holding on.

Copyright 2015 by Laura L. Padgett, Lakewood, CO

Follow me on Twitter @lauraleepadgett

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