Aliana and I just came home from a short trip to Florida. At the airport, a stranger asked me where I was going. I told him, “Naples, Florida.” He asked, “Who lives in Naples?”
“The ocean,” I said.
He looked puzzled. I almost asked him, “Have you not seen the ocean?”
As Aliana and I swam in the waves on Tuesday afternoon, I asked her a question. “How do you think you are like the ocean?” Together, we made a list of the ways that she is like the ocean:
- Strong, yet soft
- Constantly changing, yet still the same
- Full of life
Then last night, we watched the sun set over the ocean. And all I could think about was how this same sun has been setting on our earth every day since the beginning of time. The sun gives us life and is such a powerful part of God’s creation, yet I have never stopped to even think about how that ball of fire keeps me alive. That MASSIVE star keeps our earth going. It goes up every morning, no matter what, and goes down every evening, no matter what. It does its damn job without complaint. And when it shines, it’s amazing how that makes all of us feel.
So as I was having these thoughts and trying to practice gratitude for the beauty that was surrounding me and has been surrounding humanity since the beginning of time, I started thinking about what it means to surrender to the forces around us–God, nature, circumstances. Whatever they may be. And I realized this: Surrendering is freaking hard. It’s not in our nature to let go. It’s not in our nature to let God and the universe make decisions for us, yet that’s exactly what sometimes happens.
People have often asked me why I’m divorced (which, by the way, is a somewhat invasive question to ask someone you don’t know well, but anywho). Rather than going into an excessive explanation, I have started saying, “I married a person who God didn’t intend for me to marry.”
There is no doubt in my mind, that God didn’t want me to marry my ex-husband. But I wanted to marry him, and so I did. And while I have this incredible child as a result of my decision, I can still honestly say that I was not acting in accordance with God’s will when I said, “I do.” I was acting in accordance to MY WILL.
Along the same lines, I do not understand when people say, “I have no regrets.” Because, I think regret is an important teacher. I have LOTS of regrets, guys. I regret hurting my parents by being selfish. I regret having no boundaries with people. I regret putting myself in danger. I regret hurting people by not being honest with them. I regret gossiping about others. I regret trying to control people.
While I learned from those decisions (notice I don’t call them mistakes, I call them decisions), I’m still a work in progress, and I hate that I am that way, but I am. Because I’m like Dory from Finding Nemo (I totally stole that analogy from Glennon, by the way)–I now know all this “life stuff” and “who I’m supposed to be” in my head, but then I sometimes have days or weeks where I forget it. It’s during those moments that I make decisions that are sometimes less than stellar–decisions I regret. But I’m trying to iron my path out so I have less of them.
And, if I take the time to pay attention to the forces of nature, they just may remind me everyday to SURRENDER to who I am and to the universe. If I were in control of my life, things would be so different right now, but I’M NOT. And strangely enough, I also believe God knows what God is doing, and I am just gonna try to get out of God’s way so I don’t jack it up.