Holding on and Letting go

Holding on and Letting go

Mourning by Harold M. Schulweis

Hold on and let go. 
On the surface of things
contradictory counsel.
But one does not negate the other.
The two are complementary, dialectical
two sides of one coin.

Hold on -- death is not the final word
The grave no oblivion.
Hold on in Kaddish, Yahrzeit, Yizkor.
No gesture, no kindness, no smile evaporates -- 
Every kindness, every embrace
has its afterlife
in our minds, our hearts, our hands.

Hold on and let go
Sever the fringes of the tallit of the deceased
the knot that binds us to the past.

Hold on
Not enslaving memory that sells the future
to the past
nor recollection that makes us passive,
listless, resigned. 
But memory that releases us for a new life.

Return the dust to the earth
not to bury hope
but to resurrect the will to live.

Artists, aerialists
on a swinging trapeze
letting go one ring to catch another
to climb to higher heights.

Hold on and let go.
a courageous duality
that endows our life
with meaning.
Neither denying the past
nor foreclosing the future.

The flow of life
the divine process
gives and takes
retains and creates.

Old and new
yesterday and tomorrow
both in one embrace.

The Lord giveth
and the Lord taketh
Blessed be the name of the Lord.

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Monday, January 31, 2011 - 12:00pm