What Do Archery, Forgiveness, and Fear Have in Common?

The fingers of your dominant hand wrap around the bowstring. After aiming, you slowly open your hand. That’s it, just straighten your fingers. You don’t push or snap or yank. Just, let go of the string.

And since you can’t possibly do anything to direct the arrow after its left the bow, let go of that, too. (Though I always did a goofy dance when I was taking archery in High School. It must have helped, because it’s one of the only sports I was ever any good at.)

Forgiveness is not about accepting the bad done to you, or condoning bad motives. It’s about letting go of resentment; realizing that you’re better off without those negative feelings. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do what you can beforehand. Aim the best you can. And if someone has lost your trust and doesn’t appear interested in regaining it, their loss. You don’t have to take an arrow for them to prove you’ve forgiven. Forgiveness is for you, not them.

The one I’m working on is one of the fundamental human fears: loss of control. (There are six* basic human fears. All fears fall into one of the six categories.)

I used to think life was a series of unfortunate events which happened to a person. One day I realized that life is a series of events you make happen. I took control, and chose happiness. Lots of happiness.

But over time I’ve realized that my choices don’t control everything. I can choose what I do, but not always the outcomes. and I certainly can’t choose what others do.

My frustration and fear at not having as much control as I wanted were stealing my peace.

Letting go of how others live, what they think or do, ideas that don’t work out, plans that collapse like a wet tissue, people who disappoint — I can’t control it all.

But I can choose my reaction, and keep my peace.

* The six human fears: death, loss of control, the new or strange, rejection, abandonment, confined spaces

2 thoughts on “What Do Archery, Forgiveness, and Fear Have in Common?

  1. Cool article. My favorite poem in German is entitled “Die Biede” which literally means “the both” but really means “a couple” in the romantic sense, but has overtones of uncertainty because it can just as easily mean two totally unconnected people, the vague generic “both” as we sometimes use it. And since the poem is about the moment of the discovery of love, it’s a powerful title.

    Letting go, like many of our choices, has to be rechosen every single day.

    Ever read Wendell Berry’s “The Wild Rose” ?

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