Juliet Cáceres, Psy.D.
Director of Spiritual Services, Timberline Knolls
On a walk through a forest preserve, I came across a steep set of stairs. As I carefully descended the stairs, I overheard a man say, “let go of the handrail, just hold on to my hand.” I looked over and saw a beautiful Latino boy about four or five years old held by the strong grip of his father’s hand.
The father’s comment stayed with me, and I thought about the amazing implications of the father’s love and wisdom to let go of the handrail, which after all, had been placed there for just that very reason -something to hold on to.
Handrails provide a source of stability to ensure that one doesn’t lose their balance or footing.
We have things that have been placed in our world to help secure us in risky and precarious places. They are essential resources for us. At times God asks us to let go of those very helpful things. One may be quick to respond with suspicion and wonder…but why?
My thought returned to this scene, and as I reflected on the scenario, it became apparent. Indeed, the father’s strength and grip of his son’s hand was far stronger than the power the little boy could ever possibly exert on the handrail!
Particularly during difficult times and times when we struggle, one’s ability to grab onto things for stability can be uncertain. We need support. It is not that the mechanisms to support us are faulty, rather than our capacity to utilize them are not unreliable. Though we may not realize our weaknesses, at these times, we can far more trust the strength the father has to keep us safe and from falling than our best efforts to grasp onto the most secure device contingent on our strength to grasp it.
Letting go of our efforts to secure ourselves can be very frightening. Our fears lead us to justify the use of reassuring things in our lives when it seems so uncertain to trust something greater. God comes alongside and takes a strong grip of our hand; like the father above, He says “Let go. Yes, let go of that state-of-the-art device or superior support- I’VE got you!“
The way of recovery can be equally steep and often uncertain. Forging a new path can feel risky. We must know that God takes great joy in keeping us safe and watching us succeed – we need only to display confidence in His strong and loving grip.
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.” – Jude 1:24
Juliet Caceres, Psy.D., is the Director of Spiritual Services at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center. Dr. Cáceres has also worked as a licensed psychotherapist for more than 20 years. Prior to Timberline Knolls, she worked at crisis centers providing child and adolescent counseling, Christian clinics, community mental health agencies, provided marriage and relationship education, and trained professionals on marriage education curricula nationwide.