To celebrate Ross’ 13th Lily’s 16th birthdays this summer, Rod and I gifted them with a parasailing adventure while we were vacationing on the Outer Banks. When I went to purchase the tickets and pick-up liability releases, the very talented salesperson asked, “Why aren’t you going? There’s room for three on the rig.” After much inner wrestling, I gave into my adventurous side and went for it.
I was nervous as we were strapped into our harnesses, connected to the rigging, and asked to sit on the stern deck of the boat. The boat picked up speed, and suddenly I felt myself sliding towards the water, as though I was falling off the back. There was nothing to do but surrender to the motion and the moment, and then we were flying, up, up, up. Aside from my scream as we lifted off, it was perfectly silent as we floated 700 feet above the sound. We laughed, pointed out things below, and then enveloped in a peaceful silence as we simply gave in to the experience. Way too soon, we were heading down and toward the boat, where we safely and gently landed on the deck, to our own whoops of laughter and the welcoming smiles of those on board.
I’ve thought about the experience, about surrendering to it, letting go, falling into, welcoming what was happening. Perhaps not surprising in this season of grief, I wondered if it was a bit like dying. There’s a spiritual paradox with surrender, with setting aside control, of entrusting ourselves to an experience, an emotion, a person, to God. Debbie Ford puts it this way, “Surrender is a gift that you can give yourself. It’s an act of faith. It’s saying that even though I can’t see where this river is flowing, I trust it will take me in the right direction.”
“But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.” (Matthew 10:39, The Message Translation) ~ Anne