Drop The Rope

On Yom Kippur, our Rabbi gave a sermon that hinged on the idea of "dropping the rope". The idea being that there are two ways to win a tug of war with someone: keep pulling as hard as you can, or, drop the rope. At first I didn't like the idea of dropping the rope - does that mean giving up? Giving up on how you feel or giving up on your friend? No thanks, not for me; what time is break the fast?

But I have to say, I have been thinking through situations since then where dropping the rope is exactly what I needed to do. Drop the Rope can simply mean let it go. This has been particularly helpful to me in relationships I want to have with people who are somewhat, or entirely, made up of differing world views.

There is at least one relationship in my life where just the way someone interacts get under my skin. I wouldn't say the things he or she says, certainly not the way he or she says them; and the idea of dropping the rope is freeing. Instead of over-analyzing why they would say such a thing or how it made me feel, I'm going to drop the rope. I'm saying, okay, we're different. People are different.

It's ironic how we can scroll past opposing political Facebook statuses in a climate where we think the other choice will ruin our country (and drop the rope); but with those closest to us and right in front of us, we pull and pull. I play tug of war with myself- should I have said that, should I not have said that, no I should have, no I shouldn't. Why I don't drop the rope and say what's said is said?

I use words like introspection and reflection and self-growth to explain why, as opposed to thinking of putting myself through a tug of war. Surely, I think there is something to be accomplished...right?

In reflecting on this sermon, here are the conclusions I've drawn about why we don't drop the rope:
- We think it's wrong: In a society where we pride ourselves on being right, dropping the rope can look at first glance like going along to get along, or giving up, and we don't want to be quitters.
- It feels unnatural: Shouldn't we be speaking our minds? We fear growing resentful.

In dropping the rope, here's what I've learned:
- We all have that internal barometer that tells us the difference between "quitting" and "letting it go". I like to ask myself: "will dropping the rope make a difference?" And if so, "what will change". Certainly if it's sacrificing some life value or quest, keep tugging. If all that will happen is you'll know you're no longer consciously holding a grudge, that's no change to the outside world and better sleep for you!
-I do not think dropping the rope should be your first course of action. If you got on your side and dropped the rope immediately and/or every time no would play with you. It's there for when you realize the game has gone on too long, the winner doesn't really matter, and it's time to hug it out and grab a latte.