If I am being honest, the last couple months have been pretty rough. The holidays are usually challenging for many patrons of Skid Row, so that part did not come as a huge surprise, although this year was worse than most. Couple that with some personal difficulties going on outside of the Skid Row community, I found myself on the floor- several times- wondering what the heck I’m doing here…or there…or anywhere.
More than once I have thought about giving up, calling it a day and surrendering. These thoughts however, are usually followed by a long diatribe of self-chastising, because when the word surrender gets placed in front of me the first thing I often think of is weakness, loss of self and loss of the competition at hand. Whether in the physical or the metaphysical, waving the white flag is not an act I take pride in.
But what does it really mean to surrender? What does it really mean to lay down my sword and let go? Perhaps it is less and act of giving up and more of an act of will, stating respect in the entity you are giving yourself over to.
I surrender my pride because pride is an opposing force of strength.
I surrender my will, my desire, my plans, because I trust you enough follow your lead.
I surrender my need to be right because the shades of grey that filter the world may suggest that you are too…or that I am wrong.
I surrender my longing for praise, seeing beauty in what lies in the background, unseen to the untrained eye.
I surrender myself to love, forfeiting the illusion that to live autonomously unscathed is greater than living within the risks that come with pure love’s vulnerability.
Perhaps life is not a game of winners and losers after all. Perhaps it is in fact, a place where harmony and peace lie in the give and take of surrender and being surrendered to, all while recognizing that our greatest example of this tension lies within the life of Jesus. Jesus served and allowed others to serve him. He gave and he took. He lived with a humble strength and lack of self-preservation that compelled him not to fight for his own agenda, but rather surrendered his life, will and love to The Father.
So yes, I will give up, I will surrender.
And in doing so I pray for the strength to keep pressing on.