To the broken, the hurting, the control-freak, and those on the edge of brilliance, these words are for you. May you find peace, joy, and rest for your souls.
Surrender is something we view with suspicion. It is the action of defeat, perhaps even seen as the action of self-defeat.
“He fought the good fight, he almost made it, but the battle was too much and he surrendered.”
“She tried, but I guess she wasn’t strong enough to see it through. She didn’t lose, she just surrendered.”
Only in cheesy romance novels is surrender portrayed as a good thing. But here is the truth that so few understand: surrender is necessary for life.
In labor, a woman must surrender to the process of childbirth. This is something I learned first-hand in three deliveries with no pain medication. I had to not only surrender to the contractions, I had to embrace them. This is not an easy thing to do when those waves come on top of each other instead of arriving one at a time, peaking and then receding for a time before the next one politely, and in turn, begins.
Surrender is necessary in facing loss and grief as well. I learned this truth during the first of three miscarriages. I could have chosen to fight the pain and sorrow. I could have buried the tears deep inside. I started to, it is my natural reaction to pain, but I realized that to refuse to grieve would be to say that I had lost nothing. I would have robbed that experience of any meaning and value.
I have sat at the bedsides of people who knew that surrendering to death would bring peace to themselves and loved ones in their final days. Others waged a ragged battle until their final breath. Believe me when I say there is a time to fight, but, when the end comes, surrender brings relief.
Forgiveness is another act of surrender; giving up our burden of anger and releasing ourselves from seeking revenge. Cancelling the debt of repayment for wrongs committed whether we were the victim or the wrongdoer. Surrender is the key.
When I talk about surrender I no longer see it as an act of fatalistic defeat. Instead it is often the most active and engaged response to forces beyond our control, the best response to life, death, loss, pain, and woundedness. If we are to create, heal, find peace, and move forward, we must learn how to surrender.