This weekend I went to the Lake of the Ozarks with some family. I hesitated in deciding to go. Mostly, I have trouble coping with more than a few hours with my parents, in particular these days with my father. I've felt this way for a long time, but I just sucked it up for the most part, and lived with him and his way of being for quite some time. Lately, I haven't felt up to it, and for the most part I haven't forced myself to deal with him for more than a brief visit.
My niece and nephew were going, and they pleaded with me, because they knew that I would entertain them - take them out on my father's boat, buy them junk food and hang out with them. I missed being with them, so I went along for the ride. My two kids were thrilled to be going - they like the water, the boat and the lack of structure for short amounts of time.
So, off we went. The kids had fun I think, and I managed it fairly well. We had one minor skirmish, but we moved on. I took the kids out on the water, got some sun on my pasty skin and relaxed some, too.
What I didn't expect, was to find such a peace. I went out on the Lake Saturday night for awhile - at the point the sun was starting to set behind the trees. It is a beautiful place to be. All at once, I began to pray. It occurred to me that what I'm learning most these days is that life, and discernment and love, do not have to be a constant struggle. Much of my life has been marred with struggle. It's hard for me to let go of that way of life.
In some of my reading recently, the author of one book talked about when you enter into the process of reclaiming your soul, you don't even realize what you are doing at first. You are simply drawn into it, and you cannot fully articulate why or how. I've felt that way. It's hard to explain to other people, but I feel a renewal of life, of love. It's a wonderful thing. My prayers have went from desperate pleas of a woman out of touch with herself and her environment to thanksgiving for the gifts in my life. When I was looking at the lake and the trees and the hills, all I could think was, "I surrender all." Not because I'm too tired to fight anymore or because it's too difficult. But, because I want to surrender all. I want to release the need to fight and struggle with myself, my soul, my God. So my prayers were short sentences - "God, if you want me to be a priest, I will do that; if you want me to be a lawyer, I will do that; if you want me to be something else entirely, I will do that." I don't have to struggle to figure it out - I just have to surrender it to the One who already knows my heart. And then listen for His voice. There's no strife in that.