There’s a speech that Abed Nadir gives in the sixth season of “Community”, the irreverently witty comedy that ran from 2009 to 2015 about a group of community college students who form a study group and ultimately a close bond. Abed perpetually brings moments of jarring clarity in moments when it is unknowingly needed most.

In the episode, the group transports their college’s beloved 19-foot-long ceramic hand model to a buyer on eBay after pushback from the school’s financial committee. trailer breaks down on the journey, however, and they’re stuck with a giant hand that falls off the roof of the truck—nearly crushing Abed. Then enters one of arguably TV’s greatest speeches:

I have discovered the meaning of the giant hand.

A hand has two functions: to grip and to release. But without both of these powers, it is useless. Like newborn infants, we grab what comes near us—hoping to control it, taste it, jam it into another child’s eye.

But the time we spend in control of our world is the time we spend letting go of others. Ideas, stories, pride, girls in soft sweaters, video games, buttered noodles… grip one for too long and you lose so much that you’ve never held.

This giant hand was sent to all of us as an invitation to increase our mastery over the power to hold on.

And let go.

I think about this speech constantly.

Each day I look down at my hands, the embodiment of everything I’ve ever done, stoic representations of anything I’ve ever clung to. They’re a miraculous metaphor and they’re always accessible to me.

We come into this world kicking and screaming, our newborn hands tightly clenched into fists. We are blank canvases waiting to absorb and discard those things with which we interact. Every experience changes us and moves us in some unspecified direction. We own nothing while owing everything. When we die though, we have no choice but to release our fists. Our arms are wide, and our hands are open; we have no choice but to surrender.

As a child whose physical and emotional needs were consistently met, I still managed to struggle with the concept of sharing. To admit that an object didn't belong to a single person was to reckon with the fact that nothing was truly mine. My adolescent brain thought this resulting irritation was a byproduct of being five years old, but it was part of a much larger portrait: Control.

The things we experience are oftentimes neutral. There are moral ambiguities that abound, pain to be felt, joy to be experienced, gray areas to explore, gifts to be given, and gifts to be received. We are completely at the mercy of each other and ourselves. We are the vessel through which this thing called living is experienced. We make and reassign meaning.

The tighter I’ve tried to hold onto experiences in my life—the good, the bad, the neutral, and everywhere in between—I lose so much of the magic that I am desperately trying to cling to. It is natural to want to grip things so that they can somehow remain ours forever. But we can wound ourselves in this attempt.

As the observer and performer in the grand spectacle of my life, it is undoubtedly vital to let go of things with which I interact. Not in complete abandonment but rather in the direction of admitting vulnerability and our glaring lack of control.

It is only in this ritualized release that I can even begin to tap into those small, miraculous powers I do possess. And I owe this release a million times over every day.