I am participating in the Indie Ink Writing Challenge. Each week I’ll be tackling a challenge issued by another writer participating in the exercise.  This week, San Diego Momma gave me this:

Write a story about when you last were humbled, felt humbled by the presence of something/someone in your life, or lay prostrate at the feet of the universe and said “I don’t know what the hell I am doing. I will now surrender and let you take over.”

Here is my effort:


The pain shifted from intense and vaguely bearable to excruciating.  Intolerable.  Crippling.  Just a moment ago she was breathing through the discomfort, now she’s grasping the sheets, holding on just to stay alive.

They don’t talk about this in books.  They don’t want you to know that this is what happens in the end.

“I can’t do this.”

“You have to.”

You can’t plan for the unexpected.  There are scenarios that play out as possible outcomes in your head, but when something happens that you could never have foreseen, you’re left destitute.  Lost.  Helpless.

“No.  I mean I can’t do this.  Not on my own.”

There is no pain like that of your own body metamorphosing.  The twisting of your bones, the tightening and tensing of your muscles, the vehement tearing of pieces of yourself.  This pain.  You can’t plan for this pain.

“Are you sure?”

“I can’t do this anymore.”

She had been through this before, but this time was not the same.  This time would end differently.  She felt weaker than she ever had and she was giving up.  She was right.  She couldn’t do this.  She was out of fight.

“I’ll get the nurse.”

She sat there in silence, as she had been the entire time, internalizing the hurt, holding her breath.  That’s all she could do.  Hold her breath in her lungs, cling with what strength she had left to the sheets of the bed, and wait.

The nurse came in with a trolley of machines to perform a bevy of tests.  Decisions like these were life changing.  The timing was imperative.  Nothing could be off.

“It’s too late.  You’re going to have to do this on your own.”

She looked up to the ceiling.  The puckered, aging drop ceiling that hung over her bed was as good an altar as any to pray to, especially when she was strapped to wires and monitors and couldn’t move anyway.  The pain was so overwhelming, the only thought she had as she looked up was “Do I even have a choice?”

It will soon be over.  Pain is temporary.  Mind over matter.  This will only make you stronger.  It only hurts if you let it.  Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.

And, no.  She didn’t have a choice.

“She is right there.  All you need to do is push.  This is all up to you, now.”

She felt weak at that moment.  Weaker than she had ever felt before.  She could barely raise her head, lift her hand, move her leg.  All the strength had left her body and all that remained was determination and indomitability.  She could do this because she had to do this.  No one could help her now.

She surrendered.

From this pain, only joy will remain.


54 thoughts on “Surrender

  1. Sweet mother of pearl, woman, you can write like an animal. More, more. This is phenomenal; much more than an “effort.”

    I love the way you wrote this. I love the perspective. I love everything about it. God, I’m so happy you’re writing with us. Love you.

  2. This is my favorite part – “She had been through this before, but this time was not the same. This time would end differently. She felt weaker than she ever had and she was giving up. She was right. She couldn’t do this. She was out of fight.”

    People think humbling or being humbled is some manners thing it’s the opposite. Being humbled is when you tell pride, go f yourself, and you give in to help, need, want, desire, kindness, whatever. You wrote this perfectly.

    • Yes! When someone says they’re humbled when given an award or accollades of some sort, I say no! The opposite! You are humbled when you realize you are less than or weaker than or less significant than what you thought you were before.

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  4. This was the perfect story for “surrender” for that is exactly what it is. I can’t imagine a more beautiful way to capture that sentiment. You did an awesome job!

  5. I knew right away that you were writing about labor- childbirth because this is exactly how it felt with my last baby. The clinging to the sheets and feeling like you are holding on for dear life. You nailed it- this is so exquisitely written.

  6. Oh man, you nailed the exercise. The beginning reminded me of my mother’s last moments in hospice. The two ends of life are where our only recourse is surrender–where we are most at the mercy of the ebb and flow of larger rhythms than we can fathom. Great work.

  7. This is the exact definition of surrender. Never did I feel more powerless and out of control of things than when having my daughter, this absolutely captured that perfectly. Beautifully done!

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  9. I’m betting every single man that reads this will feel the pain. I know I did and it’s been 22 years since I’ve had my daughter. Well done. I felt your words on an emotional level. That’s not easy to do. (Hugs)Indigo

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