My three year old came home from daycare the other day singing all the words to what sounded like a very complicated song. It wasn’t until she got the chorus that I realized she had learned Frozen’s “Let It Go” word for word along with intonations and hand gestures.
“Snow blows white on the mountain tonight, not a footprint to be seen. Kingdom of isolation and it looks like I’m the queen.”
As the mother of five daughters who tries really hard to teach them that love for each other is found in self sacrifice, I don’t think having their childhood defined by Frozen is such a terrible thing.
But I can’t help but wondering at the let it go type of mentality we seem to have. Concealing emotions is damaging and pretending we are not feeling hard stuff is no good for anyone BUT I am afraid of the “let it go” mentality more.
I am in a profession where I cannot let it go. I have to carefully think and consider what I say when, with appropriate explanations. I am not allowed to have pure, raw, fall to your knees grief that calls a community to gather around to comfort me. When I am faced with health crisis’, I am in the role of the comforter, assuring everyone else that all will be okay and God’s will will perserver. I am not supposed to be afraid of the future or voice frustration with other people’s hypocrisy or show my own emotions too much. I certainly am not supposed to have vocal political opinions or put my foot down at being on the receiving end of abuse. I am called into a world of “conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them see….”
And trust me, in just ten years of ministry, I have crossed over every one of those boundaries in inappropriate way, even though I try to be self aware enough not to. But when I reflect on those times I would have liked to let it go and just allow the emotions, confusion, utter hopelessness spew out of me everywhere I look, but somehow managed to turn to the appropriate people to process instead of everyone I encounter, I see how my witness and how my faith was made stronger.
What the world needs is not people that just let it go. What we need is more people who understand how and where and when to let it go and when to conceal and not feel. But more than that, we need more people who are committed to being safe people, people others can turn to so they do not unleash the full brunt of their emotions on everyone. We need to learn to trust the people in our lives with our deepest most authentic selves so that we will not feel the ned to just explode.
One of the saddest things about Frozen, one of the things I don’t know was really resolved, was Anna standing at the door asking to be let in and Elsa feeling like she was keeping Anna safe by locking her out. We think its better for others if we lock them out. And we think its better for ourselves by letting go. I’m not convinced that either is entirely true.
For better or worse, our witness is learning to do both. To learn to allow the Holy Spirit when we should “conceal, don’t feel” and when we should “let it go”. We were created for relationship. But we have to carefully balance our relationships, knowing which ones we can “let it go” and which ones we need to “conceal, don’t feel”.
On a very personal note I am so thankful for the handful of people who allow me to be my fully authentically raw self with them so that I have the strength to witness to God’s working in me to others.