Surrendering to the Truth of What Is

Yesterday Anne’s post “the divine vortex” was something I really didn’t want to read, and I told her so. I told her that I was going to pull a Scarlett O’Hara and think about it tomorrow because it was just to much to think about then.

And then, of course, I hesitated to open Diane’s blog this morning, surely she would have something there that I would need to listen to (but wouldn’t want to). And she did. And I didn’t.

I saw a theme developing so I figured it must be time to read (re-re-re-read, I’ve read this book three times in its entirety, and many more times than that in part) chapter 13, The Gift of Surrender, in Joan Chittister’s book Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope.

I think I’ll just let Sr. Joan tell you:

“One of the hardest moments in life, perhaps, is the one in which I discover that there are some things about which I can do nothing at all. . .However much I protest, however wildly I resist, I cannot regain what I nevertheless refuse to lose. . .

“Part of the pain of any great struggle is the reluctance to admit that we have been bested. Or at least that we have been bridled. The relationship is over. The divorce is final. The diagnosis is correct. The partner is dead. The money is gone. The friends have betrayed me. The job offer has been withdrawn. The house has been sold. And there is nothing whatsoever that I can do about it. What I have now is all I have. And it is not what I want.

“The spirit dies within me. I am convinced that I will never live again, no matter how long I go on breathing. What I do not know, ironically, is that this loss is more grace than I know, more grace than I can bear at the moment. It is this very loss that will open up a whole new world in me. Without it, there is no life to go on to at all. Only more of the barbed and suffocating same.”

Oh, how I hope so. How I hope. She goes on to say:

“Surrender does not simply mean that I quit grieving what I do not have. It means that I surrender to new meanings and new circumstances, that I begin to think differently and to live somewhere that is totally elsewhere. . .Try as I might to read more into someone’s words than they ever really meant, I must surrender to the final truth: He did not love me. They do not want me. What I want is not possible. And, hardest to bear of all, all arguments to the contrary are useless. I surrender to the fact that what I lived for without thought of leaving, I have now lost. . .The way we were is over. . .

“Surrender is the crossover point of life. It distinguishes who I was from who I have become. . .What is left is the spiritual obligation to accept reality so that the spiritual life can really happen in me.”

Now that’s the hard part: Surrender.

I think maybe I’ll think about [doing] that tomorrow.

~ by Kimberly Mason on March 16, 2010.

6 Responses to “Surrendering to the Truth of What Is”

  1. She is absolutely right. Believe it. When you believe it hope undergirds everything else. It’s the net you need to risk surrendering to the pain, to the despair, to the grief of what is lost. The grace is invisible, but it is there. I know this because it is what has carried me through too many difficulties in my own life. Trust it. If for no other reason than you have nothing to lose by doing so. Or because I say so! You will be fine in time. Ride it out. Maybe build yourself a canoe to distract yourself from the bumps of the journey. But the waters will ease and the sun will shine, and you’ll actually fell like paddling again.

    • amen, amen, to Anne…..the sun will shine again and you’ll actually feel like paddling again! wise words!

  2. Thanks so much for this passage; sounds like a book I need to read!

  3. This book was suggested to me by my first priest, whom I recently reconnected with. I haven’t gotten very far into it, but now I’ll try again!

  4. In my own life, I find that sometimes that discovery of no control is terrible– and sometimes, it is the biggest, most surprising blessing.

  5. I’m learning that it’s all about surrender, and that surrender is a choice. Thank you for the reminder. I second what the previous commenter said; after surrender comes blessing. Every time.

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