That is why sitting on the beach in Florida this Monday morning watching birds I immediately recognized and savored the visual of surrender.
After quite a bit of internet research we’ve decided that we were either watching Terns or Gannets, but the Youtube videos don’t seem to do justice to what I was watching. These tiny bird would flap their wings hard to move from one area of the shoreline to another and then hover floating on the light breeze almost as if they were there strictly for the sensation of wind moving against their wings and then they would collapse their bodies and plummet to the sea. Their little bodies would break maybe an inch of water at their very most and then pump hard to clear the surf and rise up into the air again.
Each time I watched one of the birds plummet toward the earth I could only think of the bravery it took to surrender the body hopefully to gravity’s pull and trust so fully that the little bird would right itself and not crash into the sand below the shallow water.
It was surrender at its best. We have to be willing to close our bodies into the perfect form, the perfect vessel to propel ourselves towards our goal and then allow ourselves to be carried there. We have to be ready to face disaster as a possible stopping point on our way to what we want.
Unlike the larger pelicans diving and fishing in deeper water, these tiny birds were highly unsuccessful. But the fight in them, the perseverance was inspiring. It is not surrender if you plummet towards the earth once. It is only surrender if you repeatedly swoop back up, pump hard, search diligently for what you want, position yourself correctly and then sculpt your body to work with gravity, with the pull of the universe and give over heart and soul to the fall again and again.
Image credit: kojihirano / 123RF Stock Photo