"Embrace the Surrender.”
- Kimberley Baker Guillemet
According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus discovered in 2019. The virus spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. To date, it has infected over 288 million people.
For me, COVID-19 signifies more than a virus that has swept the world. It reflects a demand for flexibility and nimbleness. Essentially, it has forced me to embrace surrender.
I’ve always prided myself on being organized and having things planned out. This approach to life has helped me ever since I was a young child. Planning always gave me a sense of control when things around me felt out of control.
COVID-19 has forced me to confront within myself my desire for control and ask myself the question: how will you respond when you have absolutely no control over various factors in your life?
It has caused the following questions to emerge over seemingly mundane events such as:
● When will my children return to school?
● How many colleagues will be present at work today to help me accomplish a task?
● Will my daughter’s soccer season be canceled?
● Will my mother be safe attending church?
● Can our family safely gather at our house for Christmas dinner?
These are questions that would not have weighed on me in 2019, yet here we are, at the top of 2022, and they are very real concerns.
We are fortunate that we now have a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as a pill that promises to shorten the length and severity of the virus. Both of these pharmaceutical advancements bring with them a renewed hope for a return to some semblance of normalcy. I’m grateful that we live in a time and space in which we have access to vaccination, medication and different therapeutic options. However, with the Omicron mutation of the virus, and with whatever iterations and mutations of the virus that will emerge in the future, comes further uncertainty. One thing that this pandemic has taught me is that we cannot hang our hope on well-meaning promises. The reality is that we just don’t know. So where do we get our help? How do we proceed when we just don’t know what lies ahead?
Here’s the reality: we have never known what the future will bring. We have lied to ourselves and lulled ourselves into a comfortable mental space where we’ve believed that we knew what was going to happen from one moment to the next and from one from one day to the next. And for many of us, prior to the emergence of COVID-19, we probably were able to make plans and see them actually come to fruition with some regularity. But COVID-19 has reminded us of the truth that we have never known what lies ahead, nor have we had much control over it.
I am choosing to receive that reminder with gratitude and embrace the surrender. That does not mean I have stopped making plans, setting goals or working toward achievements. I will continue to strive to be my best self and set goals that I believe are worthwhile and meaningful. However, when things go awry or do not turn out in the way that I expect or hope, I am learning to surrender and pivot. There is always a blessing that we could not have foreseen when we experience what we did not expect.
As we begin 2022, full of hope for what the next 365 days will hold, I challenge all of us to anchor our hope not in what we think we know or hope will happen, but in the mindset we intend to use when we respond to the unexpected.
Embrace the surrender.