Letting Come

It was billed as the most anticipated event in the long career of Howard Aikens, the nation’s most revered person. Howard Aikens never held elective office, he never played sports, and he wasn’t a movie star. He was just Howard Aikens. People began to recognize him for the wisdom he shared in a syndicated column. Reluctantly he would do presentations as long as they were free to the public. He became an advisor to Presidents. He provided common sense thoughts on what the nation’s needs were, no one knew what his politics or religious leanings were but he was clearly a man of faith and had a deep concern for the nation and its people. His uplifting messages were the perfect prescription for a nation that had become grievance-focused.

His final presentation was a hot ticket, but who you were or who you knew were almost a guarantee that you would not receive a ticket. Those in attendance were young people who Howard had met. They were people who he had mentored. Many came from disadvantaged backgrounds. They were persons whose potential was hidden from almost everyone but Howard. He saw something in them that others did not see, and how they did respond. Today everyone saw them as future stars. Howard wanted to use his presentation as a celebration of their emergence.

Howard began by asking the crowd one simple question: “What two words did I share with you that made the difference?”

The response was thunderous: “Letting come.”

“We often hear people tell us to let go. They are referring to our past, our life challenges, our failures, our grievances, and anything that is dragging us down. That’s good advice, but it’s not enough. What we need people to learn is how to sense their selves and their future to come. Each of you has made that breakthrough in your thinking.” 

“You began by being aware of yourself and who you wanted to be. You had a vision of your future that stripped away your current fears and doubts. You developed a purpose to your life. But you didn’t do this blindly. You were sensible about your dreams and exercised judgment about possibilities. But in all cases, you reached for a future that was beyond your imagination as you began the letting come journey.” 

“You learned your value of spontaneous action and gave up overthinking your fears. That required purposeful playfulness where you saw joy where others saw doubts.” 

“But what makes me proudest is that you never lost your authenticity. You never got trapped into a culture of seeking praise. I warned you that others could become resentful of your success, but that never happened. You learned how to be quietly successful.” 

“This is the last time that my voice will be heard, so I want to ask one favor of you. Whatever your life’s purpose is, devote time to helping others who come from backgrounds like yours and teach them how to let come.”

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“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” – Pope John XXIII

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