“It ain’t over till the fat lady sings” is a colloquialism that is often used as a proverb. It means that one should not assume that they know the outcome of events as they are still happening. The phrase is most commonly used in association with organized competitions, particularly sports. This proverb is cautionary. It warns against assumptions that the current state of an event is irreversible and that the end of the event has been determined. Watching World Cup Soccer these past weeks, I can state with much exuberance that this tends to be true. It’s not over till it’s over.
“The phrase is generally understood to be referencing the stereotypically overweight sopranos of the opera. The imagery of Richard Wagner‘s opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen and its last part, Götterdämmerung, is typically the one used in depictions accompanying reference to the phrase. The “fat lady” is the valkyrie Brünnhilde, who is traditionally presented as a very buxom lady with horned helmet, spear and round shield (although Amalie Materna played Brünnhilde during Wagner’s lifetime (1876) with a winged helmet). Her farewell scene lasts almost twenty minutes and leads directly to the finale of the whole Ring Cycle. As Götterdämmerung is about the end of the world (or at least the world of the Norse gods), in a very significant way ‘it is [all] over when the fat lady sings.'” -Wikipedia
There is a time, place and season for everything. After winter comes spring. There is even a time for things to end. Graduation marks the end of high school or university. Just as there is a time for things to end there is a time and a purpose for letting things go. There is a purpose for the aria at the end of the Wagner’s opera, it provides the diva an opportunity to sing.
Recently, a friend had posted on her blog a message about strength. She encourages the reader to be strong and how showing strength in challenges makes us stronger. She is absolutely correct. But I also think that at other times, in order to be strong, we must let go. You can hold onto something so tightly that you lose yourself. It is important to remember the immortal words of Sting, “If you love somebody, If you love someone, set them free.” What we need to realize when you set someone or something free, it frees you as well.
The challenge is to recognize the ending. We don’t always get a clear picture that this is the end. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a diva sing for you each time that something has ended as a signal that it is time to move on?
This is where the strength to let go comes in. It is at this ending that you need to be able to say good-bye. The ending and/or the reason for it is not important. We all have them and they happen in a myriad of ways. I just hope that I have the strength to recognize them and in turn am able let go so I may move forward.
So here I am at an ending. The fat lady has sung a magnificent aria and is taking a bow. I would not have missed the experience I gained or the memories I have built. But it is time to go. And just as importantly, it is time to let go. I am clapping, putting on my coat and leaving the theater…… out into sunlight and new adventures.