Holding Onto Things Loosely

I am learning to hold onto things loosely. To me, holding things loosely as a patient with pulmonary fibrosis means being active in the pursuit of my health, taking care of things I need to, and letting go of things that are out of my control. I’m shifting my focus to holding tightly to the precious moments in front of me. This is where my faith in God helps so much. For me, loosely holding things means placing my future in God’s hands.

We think we are in control

Most of us cling tightly to the idea that we are in control of our lives. Click To Tweet

The reality is that while our actions influence our lives, we don’t control life. There are many variables that we can only react to. Marriages break up. Friendships change. Careers end. Hurricanes happen. And yes, some people get pulmonary fibrosis.

Working through grief helps us adjust from what was to what is. Part of accepting this disease is holding things loosely; being willing to open our hands and let happen what happens. This doesn’t mean we don’t care or that we stop doing all we can to stay as healthy for as long as possible. We do.

Letting go

I’ve expressed my God-given gifts for 30 years through counseling, teaching, writing, and public speaking. I’m grateful I could be a positive influence in the lives of others for so long. But I’ve had to let go of most of that. I’m learning to loosen my hold on things. This shift helps me adjust and enjoy the precious moments happening right now.

I’m going through testing to get on the transplant list. I hope to get on it and have a successful transplant that will extend my life. It may happen and it may not. My job is to do all I can to stay healthy and follow my doctor’s orders. That’s what I have control of. I don’t have control over getting on the list, getting new lungs, or having a successful transplant. I am loosely holding onto hopes of a transplant. Whether it happens or not, I’ll be okay. God is in control of my life and future, and I trust Him.

The first time I released my hold

My first real experience with loosening my hold on things came 39 years ago. My husband and I had been married just a year when we set off from California to go to graduate school in Texas. He wanted to become a pastor and I wanted to become a counselor. We were driving a souped-up VW Bug and towing a trailer containing all of our worldly belongings, including our wedding presents. We traveled at night because it was so hot. At about midnight on the second night, we were driving on the freeway when suddenly we lurched forward and rolled off the road. We landed in a heap, upside down and hanging from our seat belts.


Fortunately, we were okay, and we crawled out of the door. A truck had pulled off the road, and my husband ran to ask him to radio for help. There were no cellphones back then, and we were in the middle of the Arizona desert. As my husband approached the driver, he said, “I’m so sorry, I fell asleep and hit you.” Our car and trailer had turned over twice, spreading our belongings all over the freeway. A policeman drove us to a hotel to spend the night, and the next day we had to load our totaled car and smashed belongings into a U-Haul truck to drive to Dallas to file a claim.

That was a rough experience for a newly-married couple. However, it helped us grow stronger together, and it was my first experience of intentionally loosening my hold on material things. And, honestly, losing those things didn’t matter. There was great freedom in knowing we could lose all of our possessions and still be OK on the inside. God helped us in amazing ways to get through such a difficult time. I think this experience has prepared me for many losses in my life and has helped me hold onto things loosely. I notice and appreciate the small things in life. I still feel blessed by the life I have yet to live.

I’d love to hear from you!

What jumped out at you from this column? How have you been able to hold things loosely? How have past losses helped you adjust to the losses you are dealing with now?

Please leave a comment below and share with those who could benefit via email or on social media.

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This blog post based on Kim’s recent column at Pulmonary Fibrosis News https://pulmonaryfibrosisnews.com/2018/09/18/pulmonary-fibrosis-losses-taught-me-loosely-hold-onto-things/

12 thoughts on “Holding Onto Things Loosely

  1. Good morning!
    It is always a blessing to start my computer day with one of your blogs! To think of the two of you in a VW bug, towing a trailer and experiencing that on the freeway at night….oh, my goodness! God was definitely providing a hedge of protection around you and Dave. I am thankful that the driver that caused the accident was at least able to come to your rescue!
    Prayers continue as your get closer to getting on that transplant list.
    Love to both, as always.
    P.S. Is that the world’s largest domestic cat on your couch? What a beauty!

    1. Dear Ann,
      Thanks so much for your encouragement. You’re right, God sure did protect us. Such a tangible expression of His love for us. You are right our cat is huge! He has a sweet temperament 🙂 Blessings to you friend

  2. Ohhhh my goodness! That pic of the smashed up VW brought back memories. I had just gotten the pink slip in the mail for my new/used vehicle. On the way into town, I got hit and the car was totaled. Yet, my son and I walked away without injuries! I was heartbroken that my new vehicle was gone.
    Holding things loosely then trying to take control is a dance I seem to do over and over! Hopefully, I’m getting better at the “loosely” part of the dance as I get older and this body fails.
    Thanks for your words of wisdom and encouragement!

  3. Wonderful story, not the accident of course but your perspective on it’s impact on your life. We all need to hold onto things loosely and this story is a good reminder for me right now in my life….God is amazing how he moves.
    Thank you Kim

  4. Kim, this was so timely. Thank you for always sharing so honestly, it blesses each of us. I find there is no way to read your blogs and not receive so much. Praying for your health and that you do get this transplant.
    Much love,
    Kathy

  5. Kim, Thank you for your post. I am 64 years old and was actively listed for a lung transplant at the University of Washington Medical Center on August 31, 2018. I am “waiting for the call.” I agree that we are not in control of anything. I have placed my life in God’s hands, and to be honest, it is an ongoing struggle to stay true to that. I really believe that God is going to take care of me, but faith is an ongoing struggle for some of us because I wasn’t brought up that way and I have had to work at being faithful. What I have learned is that when I put everything in God’s hands, he has answered all of my prayers so I know I am on the right path. I love the thought of “holding onto things loosley.” That is perfect and I will try to live by that every day going forward. I would love to share this transplant journey with you because I think it is so important to connect with someone that is going through the same thing at the same time. Please feel free to contact me.

    1. Dear Patricia,
      Thanks for your comment. You’re right, we are on the same path! Your faith and example is an encouragement to me! So appreciate you reaching out. We’ll stay strong together 🙂

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