Doing the impossible

Two summers ago, we were camping in Colorado.

We ran away from the muggy summer heat and beach closures of Puerto Rico, away from the pandemic and crowds and cities into the mountains, into the woods.

One still June night, I laid on a deflating air mattress, trying to quietly cry and hoping it would be enough and I could sleep.

I couldn’t name what I was feeling, what was fracturing. There were too many things surfacing. Slapping on labels, categorizing, crystallizing the what and why was too much.

Maybe for the first time in my life, that night, I didn’t wish for understanding.

I wished for courage. I asked to be brave, braver than I was.

I knew I needed to let go. Controlling couldn’t work. Trying to fix would continue to be a disaster, a failure, a waste of energy. Understanding wouldn’t change anything.

And yet.

I slipped out of the tent. Tall pines held up the sky. The ground was soft and quiet. A little trail wound to a rock jutting out of a hillside. I sat and stared into a valley of dark green shadows.

I imagined what it would feel like to open my hands and say, truly say, and mean: Thy will be done.

To let go.

Ah. It is the impossible. And yet it must be done.

What I wanted was to be brave enough to quit trying. Spiritual people call it surrender. To me, it just felt like failure.

Giving up is not something I do, I told the darkness.

Well, the night replied, maybe it should be.