What comes to mind when you hear the word surrender? For me, it evokes images of giving up after a struggle. Waving the white flag. Admitting defeat.

The greatest moment of surrender in my life came over a cup of tea.

I had been living in Nepal for about four months – the realization of a long cherished dream, and it wasn’t going as expected. I was isolated, lonely, confused. Why had God brought me here if it wasn’t going to be the greatest experience of my life?

I sat at my kitchen table, a turmoil of feelings swimming through me, feeling depleted. As a sipped my tea, a small impression deep inside suggested that I needed to face reality, accept that “It is what it is.” I had a choice – accept my situation or go home. I could view the isolation of the compound where I lived as a quiet slowing down, or I could go home. I could spend my excess time in prayer and meditation, or I could go home. I could embrace the apparent chaos, or I could go home.

I didn’t go home.

264I chose surrender. To the beauty of jagged hills and soaring Himalayas, to noise and congestion of Kathmandu and extreme silence of the village, to time, to the glaring realities of myself, to God.

Surrender can be a letting go. A conscious choice to open a clenched fist and free the pain held captive.