I have seen her before but not sure where. Impatiently, she paced in front of our old brick office building, repeatedly ringing the doorbell. “These doors need to open now. I must be at work. Where is the guard?” I thought this was an easy excuse not to work on a blissfully sunny Saturday morning. “Take off, enjoy the day?” I suggested. Ignoring me she rang the doorbell then started to knock loudly on the glass. She swept a key card across the door’s security box. The gold framed glass doors did not open. She stomped her feet but the doors did not open. No one heard her.
Mesmerized I watched as the bright morning sun glanced off the gold metal door frames momentarily blocking her from my sight. How many doors had I tried to open that were shut tight I wondered, like the times I believed that if I tried hard enough I could fix the unfixable, like a broken marriage, bad poem or cracked cup. Surrender isn’t easy for us problem-solver types. We pride ourselves on our survival instincts. When does determination turn into control, desire become obsession or hard work turn into stubbornness? If I surrender does that mean I settle, give up, or I am not able to achieve my goals?
She stopped knocking on the door momentarily, looking around angrily for someone to blame. Dialing her cell phone her words turned into accusations with each new call. I waited absentmindedly scrambled my key ring staring at the useless keys. How many keys did I still carry to doors that had long been slammed shut? Did I hold on hoping that I could relive the past, make amends or was it denial? Occasionally, she would glare back at me as if to blame me for the locked doors. Blame is the refuge from the responsible self, handed out like useless keys.
A homeless man walked up. “Can you spare a dollar?” Out of my pocket I handed him a handful of change. He saw quite a few pennies, so argued. “But I needed a dollar!” Begrudgingly, he pocketed the change, grumbled and walked away. Among the pennies were several dollar coins he had not seen. When we demand control do we miss out on more?
The woman leaned against a gray stone wall. She looked up at the sun in a new way noticing its brilliance. Her shoulders drooped as she snapped her cell phone shut. “I don’t know what to do. My reports are due and I can’t be late.” She sighed. The heart wants what the heart wants and usually for valid reasons. Do we only surrender when we have worn ourselves out trying?
When I stopped controlling my life’s keys I began to succeed. Whenever I practice gratitude doors do open. I work to achieve my highest potential while recognizing I am part of the wholeness of spirit. I no longer wait to surrender. By surrendering I become a co-creator of an evolving life. Surrendering is not easy for me as it takes trust. Refusing to surrender creates the calamity of control. When I do surrender doors open and unimagined possibilities become realities, dreams are fulfilled in surprising ways or I learn my dreams can change. Surrendering allows me permission to change and grow.
The homeless man walked past while counting his change. Often we do not realize the many gifts we continually receive until we surrender. The woman relaxed and smiled as I walked up to the golden doors. I offered to help her call the building’s office. As I did. I noticed how well-polished the doors appeared. Patience to surrender when gleaming doors appear closed can be daunting. We can see our prize on the other side of the glass door but can’t reach it.
Soon we knew someone would arrive. Patiently we joked about the silliness of being indoors on such a sunny Saturday. Maybe things would turn out fine if we left.. Sometimes we surrender together.
A guard suddenly appeared. “This way!” He motioned then apologized for being late. Excitedly, he said. “Look at my daughter!” He pointed to a newborn baby picture on his cell phone then thanked us for being patient. The woman embarrassed rolled her eyes. Easily, he opened all the locked doors. When we stop creating calamity from our need to control we learn what newness can be created.
At last, I recognized the woman, because there were times I have been her. The guard grinned as he leaned back in his chair gazing in awe at his newborn baby’s pictures.
Most importantly, surrendering returns us to the innocence of a child.
Published in The Journey Magazine, Issue 27
March – April 2006