Saturday, January 9, 2010

Surrender and Joy

These two little clay hedgehogs always find a place on my altar in January. Each year they receive new names and their names are my chosen words to live for the new year. In 2007 their names were Discipline and Contemplation. In 2008 their names were Laughter and Presence. This year I have decided to keep their 2009 names as I am not yet finished with their old names. I still need to do some unpacking, --and the names are:


SURRENDER is on the left side. She is a little closer to the earth...a little more bowed down. As I honor the beauty and importance of surrender I need to make clear that when I choose surrender as one of my 2010 words, in no way am I thinking about a door mat kind of surrender. It takes humility to surrender and humility is truth. In the rule of St.Benedict I am asked to give up my own will . Truly that takes a little (and sometimes a lot) of surrender. In this new year, then, I am praying that the Holy One, Source of my Joy will reveal to me the areas where surrendering would bring me a deeper joy. I have in mind actions such as:
*letting go of my need to be right, *surrendering stuff that clutters up my life, * letting go of my plans for changing others, * letting go of expectations, *surrendering resentment, *surrending busyness, *surrendering my own will, --
This may sound negative; yet looking more closely at my desire to surrender I am aware that every letting go in my life has always brought me greater freedom. The trick is staying with the moment of surrender when it's difficult.

And now I introduce you to JOY. She is on the right side, -- kind of though she is waiting for something. Perhaps she is waiting for the grace that will help her to be friends with SURRENDER. She is a wonderful companion for SURRENDER because surrender without joy can be a bit morose. JOY enables SURRENDER to see that she is beautiful even as she lets go, loosens her grasp, empties herself out.

This is my great longing for 2010:

to taste the freedom that comes

from living Joyfully Surrendered.


  1. I love this idea of having visual identities for your words - and I love the hedgehogs themselves. (I've always thought the name hedgehog is one of the most enchanting labels for a creature that mankind has invented.)

    I also think you're right in this close link between joy and surrender. There's something around the ability to live in grace in the present moment.

    So the bestest of wishes to you in your joyful letting go.

  2. I have a feeling that you are tasting that freedom sometimes!
    My word for 2010 is "contentment" nothing is perfect, I don't have the exhuberance for "sparkle" which was my word one year, but life is good and I am working on being grateful!
    [I'm greatful for your friendship and for blogging!]

  3. Your words are beautiful, and I know that they form a part of my one word for this year. After a truly frustrating and painful year, I chose "bloom" because I know that I have been transplanted to a new place in the garden closer to where God created me to be. Thank you for sharing your words with us!

  4. Macrina, I am so pleased to meet them. Many blessings on your continued journey with these two friends.

    My words this year are "light" and "shadow". I had already picked them when you blessed me with "light" in a recent comment. God is so real, so present, so good. Thank you for bringing light into this world.


  5. I am so glad that you talk of the areas where surrendering would bring you a greater joy. You make surrender a positive goal, a dimension which is rarely included.
    I like your hedgehogs. I will never see a hedgehog in the same way :-)

    I remember the first time I saw Ignatius' prayer, Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, memory, understanding and entire will. It froze me with dread. Since then, I have found it liberating when I am afraid, when I can't get the control of something, when I feel bone-tired from wanting to force my will on things...

    Joy is such a wonderful accompanying gift for surrender.

    Thank you.