It occurs to me that the quality I most admire in others is the one I can't achieve myself: the ability to surrender.
This expresses itself on many levels, from the Rav's idea regarding "surrendering our minds to God" to the idea of surrendering to death. The most powerful scene in the animated movie Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas is when Sinbad kneels, his fists clenched, places his head on the executioner's block and you see his fists unclench, his hands open. His hands open and the moment is incredibly powerful; he has completely surrendered to his fate and expects to die. He is completely powerless, completely helpless and he accepts that...There's a very strange quality to that scene for me; I always wonder how he is able to do it.
The idea of surrendering one's intellect to a being who is supposedly higher than you, trusting another to give you the answers, is one that I find impossible. I cannot trust other people's answers; I have to figure everything out for myself. I can respect other people's answers, but to simply adopt them without question? No, I cannot do that. Is this a learned response due to my high school experience or an inborn character trait? I do not know.
This is probably related to my quest to be in control of my own life, to fight when attacked (whether that attack is real or merely perceived.) If you surrender, you surrender to something, to someone. You give someone else authority over you. I can't do that...that gives someone else far too much power.
Surrender, in my mind, is linked to submission. To submit is to have failed, to have lost. I do not like authority. I do not like surrendering anything, whether it be my mind, my will or my spirit to an alien authority. I do not want to be chained to anything, I do not want to be pinned down; the butterfly does not want to be caught.
There can be no surrender, not even to God. To meet God as a child, yes, but even then, it must be through defiance and at times through anger, because otherwise I would have to admit I do not understand and that is unthinkable. I am not like my friend; had I been stricken with cancer, I do not think I could have met God in love, have surrendered to Him. My instinct is to fight, to protest, to cry out...not to yield.
But I find that some of the most beautiful moments in the stories I so treasure are ones where people surrender to fate, death or God. And I admire that quality. I wonder if perhaps only the person who is not proud has the ability to surrender. The proud person would have difficulty with surrendering.
I don't know how to change it or if it is worth trying, but I can't surrender to any authority and I won't surrender to God. One wonders what I prove by my defiance- perhaps it is only that that defiance makes me feel like more of a person and less of a puppet. Or perhaps it is that I cannot stand to choose to be powerless, to be helpless.
But I think I need to learn, if only to do it once, how to surrender.