Saturday, January 22, 2011

Complete Surrender

My girlfriend had given me a great book to read a few weeks ago and if you have the chance (if you haven't already), pick up a copy of "tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom.  I want to quote a piece of the book for you:
     Morrie lost his battle.  Someone was now wiping his behind.
     He faced this with typically brave acceptance.  No longer able to reach behind him when he used the commode, he informed Connie of his latest limitation.
     "Would you be embarrassed to do it for me?"
     She said no.
     I found it typical that he asked her first.
     It took some getting used to, Morrie admitted, because it was, in a way, complete surrender to the disease.  The most personal and basic things had now been taken from him - going to the bathroom, wiping his nose, washing his private parts.  With the exception of breathing and swallowing his food, he was dependent on others for nearly everything.
     I asked Morrie how he managed to stay positive through that.
     "Mitch, it's funny," he said.  "I'm an independent person, so my inclination was to fight all of this - being helped from the car, having someone else dress me.  I felt a little ashamed, because our culture tells us we should be ashamed if we can't wipe our own behind.  But then I figured, Forget what the culture says, I have ignored the culture much of my life.  I am not going to be ashamed.  What's the big deal?
     "And you know what?  The strangest thing."
     What's that?
     "I began to enjoy my dependency.  No I enjoy when they turn me over on my side and rub cream on my behind so I don't get sores.  Or when they wipe my brow, or they massage my legs.  I revel in it.  I close my eyes and soak it up.  And it seems very familiar to me.
     "It's like going back to being a child again.  Someone to bathe you.  Someone to lift you.  Someone to wipe you.  We all know how to be a child.  It's inside all of us.  For me, it's just remembering how to enjoy it.
     "The truth is when our mothers held us, rocked us, stroked our heads - none of us ever got enough of that.  We all yearn in some way to return to those days when we were completely taken care of - unconditional love, unconditional attention.  Most of us didn't get enough.
     "I know I didn't."
     I looked at Morrie and I suddenly knew why he so enjoyed my leaning over and adjusting his microphone, or fussing with the pillows, or wiping his eyes.  Human touch.  At seventy-eight, he was giving as an adult and taking as a child.
As I read this portion of the book, I couldn't help but be reminded of how God wants us to be.  In Matthew 18:1-4 Jesus was talking to his disciples about being the greatest:
"At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."(NIV)
 I don't know why I am so proud, but when I submitted myself to writing this blog, I promised that I would always be vulnerable in it for the sake of helping others.  If I was going to do it, I was going to do it wide open.  My life hasn't gone the way that I thought it would.  I imagined myself married, with a family, in a nice quaint house living a comfortable life making a respectable living at a job that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Looking at myself from the outside in, I see a guy that doesn't have any of that and my pride gets the best of me sometimes and I feel a sense of worthlessness.  I don't have a wife or family, I don't have a house, I don't have a job, I don't have ... I don't have ... I don't have ... and in our culture, all that adds up to an unsuccessful life. 

But how quickly am I reminded that the value of one's life is not based on what you don't have.  In truth, I have more than one could ever dream of.  I have a family, a girlfriend and friends that love me.  I have a place to lay my head at night.  I have food that I can eat and yes ... I even have the occasional Starbucks treat.  But all of that still doesn't create the value of my life.  Those are just blessings!

What truly gives my life value is the fact that I have a relationship with a Heavenly Father that loves me and wants me to be completely dependent on Him.  My value is not in what I have but Who has me.  That's where the success of my life lies.  You see, I think Morrie was on to something when he realized that there was pleasure in complete dependency on someone.  He was able to both give and receive.  He had figured out the healthy balance and found contentment in that.  Have we been able to find that balance of being able to receive from a father as a child, but to give as an adult?

I don't know what tomorrow is going to hold or even if tomorrow may come.  Life is fragile at best, but the life that I live, I hope that I always give with all I have and depend with all I am.  May I understand what it means to be "like a child".  Complete surrender ...

Never Lose the Passion,

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