I finally did the unthinkable … I surrendered.
Now, one may need to reread that first line a few times, before diving too much deeper into the words which follow. For many of us the word surrender is synonymous with giving up. For those of you raised as I was, that would also mean quitting which in my family was never an option.
We were taught, expected and challenged to see everything we ever started through. To push through with fortitude, resilience and a fighting spirit. I’m happy to report 50 years later, I don’t regret or fault that philosophy one bit. My children are being raised with the same sort of grit. The weak get weaker and the tough get tougher, after all.
But this is not about being tough, more specifically it’s about control and acceptance. Surrender … true surrender in the context being used here refers to both releasing control and acceptance.
Bible verse Proverbs 3:5-6 sums this up for me well stating: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.
Now in fairness, I rarely use this space to share Bible verses, actually in 16 years of column writing this indeed a first. Yet sometimes (often as of late), life can push us to a place which causes us to lean on faith like never before.
Truth be told seven years ago, as I journeyed through a chapter of life I’d never fathomed I found myself praying and giving thanks more than looking for direction on problems. In so doing I began learning of the shock those around me felt as they tried to understand how in such a dark time I could remain happy, optimistic even.
My answer was always simple, I had faith. I knew that God, my God, the one I find solace in had plans for both my children and myself larger than I could fathom.
This past year, as much has gone right in my life, smooth sailing has been far from in the grasp of my hands as well as my children’s.
So last week, as I prepared to lead a yoga class, I found a sense of peace as I hugged a student. Suddenly, I was overcome with joy, inexplicable joy and peace.
The week before while teaching, I was struggling with an ugly head cold. I was both frustrated and angry as I shared with my class then, that I recognized my need to surrender some things which were well beyond my control. Stress and worry had indeed caught up with me.
The night before the class I taught last week (the class of joy), I met my guy for dinner. Not unlike most midweek dinners we vented, marveled and then we laughed. Far from delusional we opened up our book of troubles and went over them one by one. Taking more time with some than others, as we both recognized there are pieces and parts beyond our control.
As I lead my class the following morning, I beamed. Keeping the corners of my mouth from extending upward was near impossible – I had surrendered. It took a week, some tears, stillness and yes, time but I had made peace with the things beyond my control and recognized – it’s okay.
And therein lies the lesson, the true feeling of surrender which creates peace. The choice of returning to the gratitude I feel in my heart for the life I’ve been given and all that entails. Gratitude is the attitude and peace is the result.
Sure, life is far from perfect, it’s actually quite messy. The beauty, however from my eyes is the acknowledgement that it’s not a mess that I stand in alone. That’s beyond awesome, that’s true blessing.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.