Twenty-three years ago today, I took my first shaky, baby step into a new life. Those that knew me then, would have confidently placed bets I wouldn’t survive the year. My body was fragile and malnourished; my mind was paranoid and irrational, and my spirit had been kidnapped by the insidious evil of addiction. I had tried everything to control it, and virtually exhausted the help available to me. Or, so it appeared. An unwitting statement (by me) tossed out to the universe, on July 17, 1987, evoked a response from the only real help available. God sighed, and said, “Thanks for asking.” My words went something like this..... “If there is anything out there that can help me, you are going to have to, because I can’t do it on my own.” Surrender, in its simplest form. A firm, yet tender unforeseen force, took me, spun me around in a new direction, and led me out of bondage, into the sunlight. When I was in Rome a few years ago, soaking up the splendor of the Sistine Chapel, my eye automatically tuned into Michelangelo’s, “The Creation of Adam”. I was fascinated by the message contained in this small area of one of the greatest works of Art. God's muscular arm is stretching and reaching towards Adam’s limp hand, extending one of His powerful fingers. All Adam needs to do, is, ever so slightly, raise his finger to connect with the essence of the Source of all life. On that day, twenty-three years ago, I raised my half dead hand.
Life since has been a series of surrenders. The dictionary defines surrender dually, “to give up” OR “give back”. I’ve done both. On July 17, 1987, I gave up. In humility. The paradox is, there's power in this admission of powerlessness. This kind of submission acknowledges we are not random beings bouncing off of life. This surrender unconsciously tunes into a divine energy and a sense that “something else” may know more about what is necessary and meaningful for our lives. A sort of awakening as a thin stream of light infiltrates our amnesia of the powerful Source we came from.
Conversely, in my 23 year journey, I have occasionally given it back; surrendered the relationship I established with my Higher Power to quiet the voice of reason, when I didn’t like what I heard. I have surrendered my serenity and returned to thinking I was in charge again, and could control people, their journeys or situations. And, I have surrendered my joy when I have stepped out of the only place I can live, the present. I try to begin my day now, in the same recognition of powerlessness I found myself at many years ago. Humbly admitting I need guidance navigating the day. Surrendering to the fact I am not the architect of my life and need some help in reading my blueprint. Acknowledging my role as the builder, doing the “grunt work”. This “giving up” form of surrender astonishingly grants me my heart’s desires. The gifts of surrender have become far to precious in my daily life and I am finding it not only irreverent to give them back, but reluctant to sacrifice them to my ego again.
To say I am grateful isn't nearly adequate. I am in awe. The picture God sketched out for me at birth has become a beautiful masterpiece, full of color, texture and depth. And it is simply a result of lifting the hand which held my paintbrush, and letting Him guide my strokes. On this day of my rebirth, my heart is full of thanks.