Letting Go of the Shades

plant at window with blinds
I remember the time I was praying silently in the living room very early in the morning, before my little ones were awake. It was prior to my father’s death from cancer, when my sister and I, many miles apart, were praying simultaneously thanks to prearranged appointments on our calendars.
I sat alone, criss cross-legged in the middle of the room, with sunlight just beginning to filter through the partially closed mini blinds in front of me. Behind me, the L-shaped brown corduroy sofas framed my prayer space, as if welcoming a cloud of witnesses to sit and pray with me.
Years later, the image is still clear in my mind. As I sat with palms up on my knees, I imagined my two hands gripping the cords of the window shades, which refused to budge. I recalled a recent incident when our daughter was trying to pull up the blinds, but she lacked the strength to do it. Oh, how she longed to accomplish it herself! My hands were below hers, waiting, waiting. I couldn’t act, because her tight grip was an obstacle to my gentle holding.
“Why am I recollecting this image, God?” I asked the Divine One.
Surprisingly, I was aware of God’s hands below mine on the cords of my vocations as wife, mother, employee, and child of God. “Let me lift the shades,” God said. “Let me do the heavy lifting. I know you want to help, but you cannot do it without me, and your efforts are counterproductive. Just step out of the way. Let go. Let me.”
This is a lesson I still need today: surrendering control so that the initiative of God can be accomplished. It pops into my head as if it were yesterday.
One of the ways that St. Ignatius knew something was from God was that its effects were long-lasting. For me, this prayer experience fits that category. Thinking of my meager attempts to save myself and my surroundings, I need this reminder to get out of God’s way.
I continue to try to force “God’s will,” tugging, pulling, and futilely yanking “blinds” that are heavy and unresponsive. After all these years of believing in Jesus, I still forget to pray first, ask God for confirmation of my choice, and only then get to work!
Yes, God wants me to participate in the reign of God, but not as the Savior or Lord of the plan.
God can easily lift the blinds and let light pour into my heart, when I get out of the way. I pray for the grace!

  • In what ways am I trying to control something, thinking I have the skill, strength, or wisdom to remove blinders?
  • Am I getting in God’s way by insisting I know better?

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

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Loretta Pehanich is a Catholic freelance writer and author of Fleeting Moments: Praying When You Are Too Busy. Loretta has six years experience as a spiritual director and was trained in giving the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. She is also a workshop presenter and retreat leader on Ignatian spirituality and prayer. Loretta is a founder of Women’s Ministry at St. Francis in Sacramento, CA. With more than 20 years in ministry, including Christian Life Community (CLC) and small group leadership, Loretta is an expert in being busy. She and her husband Steve have four children and 10 grandchildren.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Our sis passed away 3 years ago from colon cancer. My mom was just diagnosed with the same thing. She recently told the doctor, no treatment. “I just want to live my life.” Everyday I’m in awe of her. Recently feeling overwhelmed, I heard the words, “I’ve got her.”
    So I watch my mom live her life with joy, feeling blessed and and grateful each day. What peace He gave me. (Mom watched the Harlem Globetrotters last weekend…the team hugged her and played for her. It was as though they could feel someone special. It was amazing to watch; her joy; their joy with her).

    • I don’t always understand the why of things.
      I hope you feel welcomed when you come home to the church family. The church needs good people.

  2. It’s so difficult to let go. God gives us a mind filled with grey-matter so that we can logically navigate life. We are encouraged to use that brain. We control a car when we drive, the stove when we cook, the shower pressure when we bathe, the heating and cooling in our homes, etc, etc, etc.
    So, it stands to reason that we should be able to use that God-given gift of intellect when it comes to our lives! A lifetime of discernment is needed to ‘allow’ God to move the strings. How difficult it is to just trust. We forget that He is our safetynet and our loving Father. We are safe with Him.
    When my son was struggling with addiction, I was in such a state of helplessness and anxiety, that I could not pray. My plea became: ” Dear God, make it stop, make it stop…..” My son succumbed to an overdose. It’s taken years for me to realize that my loving Father took my son into His loving arms and I was released too. I received an answer; it was just not the answer I wanted. I received ample grace AFTER I let go, and let God.

    • I can only imagine your state of concern and worry. Thank God that Grace came through for you. I love how you point out that God gave us gifts of reason, emotions, creativity and such and wants us to use them. God just doesn’t want us to think we control everything because of our gifts!
      God bless you! Thanks for your insights and sharing.

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