As I get older, I realize that to be happy, one must learn to let go of so much. Letting go is a very special talent on the road to happiness. This is another way of saying that we must adapt. They say that the raccoon is one of the most adaptable animals around. If he lives in the woods, and they build a sub-division in his woods, he simply finds a way to live in the subdivision. He does not say, “But I liked the woods.” He lets go and adapts.
Years ago, I began to recognize how much letting go I had to do. It was my personal home work. I found that I put a lot of energy and anxiety into things that were entirely beyond my control like things the Pope said or Bishops said or the President or politicians said. Attitudes of friends or parishioners caused problems. I realized that I did not have to care about those things or at least give them a lot of my energy.
So, I began to make a list of things I really did not care about. It was a healthy exercise in letting go. I eventually stopped when the list got as long as my arm. This exercise was simply an effort to prioritize issues. I do not want to fight every battle that comes along. I only want battles about issues of my concern. And my concern is smaller that it used to be. I let go.
If a raccoon can adapt, why can’t O’Leary.
The happiest people do not have everything the best. They make the best of everything. They adapt.
Fr. James O'Leary