Some years ago, my family took a wonderful trip to Sweden and Germany. We visited relatives in Sweden, experiencing the long, gorgeous days of Midsummer, and took in the sights of Munich and Ettal in Bavaria. It was truly a memory making and relationship building trip.
However, I found an incident in a travel journal that I had long forgotten. It describes my moment of surrender inspired by German rain, anxious thoughts, and a scene from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Here it is:
On our last night in Germany I awoke at 2:45 AM to a steady rain and began to imagine ridiculous travel complications. I stewed the rest of the night, and as I listened to the rain pound my senses, I prayed and reasoned with myself to fight those “what-if” scenarios.
Finally, with nothing left to do, I gave up. I surrendered. Actually, it’s funny because I didn’t really have anything to surrender. I gave up the illusion of control, and believed the security I’ve always had as a child of God.
My worry had accomplished nothing. I finally realized, really understood, that I can’t control the rain, traffic, flight connections, my children, other people, my future, or really much of anything. (Duh!) That oppressive, unrelenting rain, was not a threat; it was only rain.
We talk about letting go as if we are actually holding on to something. We’re not. We’re in a free fall, powerless to fly or direct our landing. Like the whale falling in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (see the video inserted below), we think we’re living, but we’re heading for a splat.
A humorous and insightful scene from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
We’re not saved by what we hold on to but by the One who holds onto us.
We tend to hold on to quite a bit as we free fall: intelligence, families, rules, traditions, good intentions, and thoughts that falsely tell us we can save ourselves if we’re good enough. But we’re still falling, and we will crash-land if someone doesn’t grab us.
When we surrender to the reality that only God can save us from our free-fall, He will hold us and we will avoid the splat.
I thought that I had understood this. I have “known” it for years. But there I was, in the wee hours of the morning, after a marvelous trip that should have brought me nothing but gratitude, overwhelmed with anxiety over things I can’t control, doubting the loving care of my Father, imagining all kinds of wild scenarios and clutching the illusion of control that I thought I’d recognized and given up.
I wrote that on the plane while traveling over Iceland, We arrived at the airport on time and made all of our connections. No problem. Ay-yay-yay.
That wasn’t the last time I have had a surrender moment, and I suspect there are more in my future.
Have you given up your illusion of control?