“Nuts.” (General Anthony MacAuliffe)
This response to a request to surrender at the Battle of the Bulge typifies a military valuation of the concept. Death before surrender, and there is good reason for it.
“The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.” (Vince Lombardi)
Surrender is not seen as a winning strategy. Americans are winners. We do not surrender. And, yet, surrender is the path to serenity. Confused?
Note: This blog series investigates twelve attributes I see as conducive to recovery from PTSD (and other past stress) which has become part of our ethos or basic belief system. March seeks serenity.
It is okay to be confused. Confusion is next to enlightenment.
“I couldn’t fight the tide, so I decided to float along.” (David Levithan)
Here is a clue. Surrender is not only an option; it is the only option. Power is the choice of what shall be surrendered and to whom. You may surrender your will to the tide, or you may surrender your life to the fight against the tide.
In Vietnam, I took some comfort in the notion that I had a choice: surrender my freedom to my captors, or surrender my life to, uhm, my captors. It was a choice I pondered but never had to make.
A thirsty man walks miles across the desert looking for water and finally comes upon a well near a dry wash with Mesquite trees. He finds a fine open well with water at the bottom, lined with sturdy rocks and capped with a sturdy roof and a sturdy windlass and rope; but, alas, there is no sturdy bucket.
Looking about, he finds a frail old-timer sitting quietly in the shallow shade of a Honey Mesquite.
“Excuse me, sir, but do you have a bucket for the well?”
The old-timer asks, “What do you have in that satchel you hold so dearly?”
The thirsty man stares, blinks, and looks at the satchel he clutches. After some time of apparently painful thought, the man replies, “My stuff.”
“Your stuff, eh,” the old-timer says and pulls an old bucket from behind his stool. “Tell you what, young feller. I’ll trade you my good bucket for your satchel of stuff you cling to so desperately.”
The thirsty man licks his lips and clutches the satchel even tighter, for it holds the sum of all his Earthly treasures.
Surrender your treasure or die of thirst. Where will your tracks in the desert lead? Will they end with you clutching your treasures in your bony dead hands?