Have you ever been out swimming in the ocean when suddenly a wave crashes over your head? You lose your bearings completely, you’re thrust underwater, and the air is trapped in your lungs with no place to escape. Or maybe you fell in the pool once before you learned how to swim. The sensation is the same: panic, grasping desperation, flailing in all directions for rescue.
As a little kid in Florida, I was introduced to the first rule of safety early on. They teach babies how to float. You lie on your back and give up. And magically, you bobbed right to the surface every time. But if you kicked and fought, you would inevitably go under. You were no match for the ocean. You weren’t even a match for the deep end of the pool.
It’s the ultimate irony of our existence. The harder we fight, the heavier we get. Pulled under every single time.
True freedom is in the letting go. It’s allowing life to be exactly as messy as it appears to be. Skeletons out of closets, bandages ripped off of wounds, showing your whole hand. It’s about pulling all your secrets, the dirty little lies you tell yourself about not being good enough, out into the light.
Surrender is a refusal to fight, because this world has enough violence as it is, and the last thing we need is to keep waging war on ourselves. It’s lying down and dying- at least, letting the part inside that wants to be perfect and in control die. But mostly, I think it’s just insisting on a moment, at least a moment, to say “I am just going to be here. Breathing is enough.”
Nothing about surrender is easy. At least not until it’s done. It’s completely vulnerable and fights against our most basic survival instincts. To grip, clench, hold tighter. Surrender is sitting in quiet, with no distractions from the dark corners of our minds and the depths of our emotions. It is the ultimate test of faith. To surrender, we must believe that no matter how heavy we are, weighed down by our burdens, we are still light enough to gently bob back to the surface, if we only give in. That is the toughest moment. But the next moment, the one when we finally give over, is the best moment. It feels so complete to stop struggling and finally, at long last, let our hearts rest.