Monday, January 17, 2011


As a type A personality, I have a bit of a hard time letting go of the A (being anal). I've calmed down some since having a million children because well anal + lots of children=fail most of the time. But it's still there and it manifests itself in lots of anxiety over things I can't control. There have been sleepless nights of late as I worry about those damn graduate school applications. I have done the best I can, and now I have to wait. I'm not good at waiting, and I'm not good about waltzing into an unknown future. At this point, even not getting accepted would allow me some breathing space to figure out what I need to do next. And no matter how much I tell myself that there is NOTHING I can do, I can't help but lay awake trying to figure out what to do.

Yesterday's mass wasn't a really good one. The homily was preachy which I found annoying but was expecting at some point. Unlike last Sunday's homily it didn't really give me much to reflect on (well it did but not in the way the priest intended, I'm sure). But the prayer before the Eucharist was beautiful. Perhaps because R fell asleep this time, I felt like I had a moment to pray and to reflect. I prayed about surrender this time. The image of Christ on the cross was very present to me in this moment. No matter what you believe about the nature of Christ, the symbolic nature of his sacrifice is all about surrender. The ultimate surrender in many ways. Surrendering to pain and death.

As I knelt in prayer, I wrestled with this idea. I have always seen the act of surrendering as weak. And honestly I felt like Christ's "lessons" in dying was weak. There was something repugnant to me about submission. I suspect the whole concept was colored by my own negative experience as a woman in a Conservative Evangelical church. When I left, I vowed I would not ever submit or surrender myself to anything or anybody. But as I knelt, an act of submission, I thought about how much submitting and surrendering I have undergone in my life since having started my family. There is no way numerous people are going to be able to live together without some kind of this activity happening. And it's not just been me doing the submitting and surrendering. It's all of us including H. It's been a two way street and there's nothing weak in this action. In fact, it's been an act of courage and strength and trust.

What I was doing yesterday as I prayed was the same thing I had been doing with my family. I was surrendering what I could not control. It is an act I will have to perform again and again throughout my life. I wish I could say it has brought me a lot of peace. There is a sense of peace for sure but there is also fear. I do not fully trust religion or God. My past constantly trickles into my present. I remember that the lesson of submission and surrender I learned before was in many way selfish. There was an assumption that as a women I was expected to submit more. And while there was lip service given to surrendering to Christ, it was just lip service. Really I was surrendering to the men in the church. There was no give and take like I see in my family. When I am at these quiet moments of prayer, however, I do see that there is a give and take. With Christ as the example, a surrendering for all humans, there is a relationship. I can see that my surrender is a mirror reflecting that single act.

1 comment:

MacKenzie said...

I can relate to what you are saying. Tm me, Jesus's surrender was the ultimate act of trust. He knew that horrible things were going to happen to him but he chose to trust his Father anyway. He also chose to give his life for the love he had for us. He gave his life away with abandon. I admire that even when I'm horrified by it! I can't imagine myself doing the same thing in the same situation.
But I have to trust Him everyday. I don't even know if I'll continue to have life today. It is a gift and I have no control over it. I have to trust Him when I'm making my lesson plans that I will address my students' needs where they are right now. I want desperately to be a good teacher but I can't be that without Him.
Ginger, please forgive me for my part in your early experiences. I agree, the church world the family was involved in was male dominated and controlling. I don't believe that was what Jesus was all about. His closest companions were women and women had leadership roles in the early church. There is no male or female in Christ.
I have had the same experience in surrendering. With every relationship there is the act of submitting to one another. I think this is the hardest thing for us humans to do-it just goes against our self-centered nature. I actually get mad when I have to submit to someone!