I give up trying to get you to change your mind.
I give up wanting to show you just one more article, one more podcast, one more Facebook post that will convince you that I am right and you are mistaken.
I give up thinking that if you just saw it my way, you’d really understand and you’d be better for it.
I give up writing insightful, witty responses to let you see that we can still be friends and you can still be wrong and I will put up with you because I am just that kind of person and aren’t you lucky I am?
I give up thinking I am more informed. I give up snickering. I give up arrogance disguised as caring.
I give up waking up in the middle of the night wondering if I just said it THIS way, you’d get it and we’d be on the same page and I would have won and it would be for your own good.
I give up hoping that we’re somehow going to be able to ignore this if we just don’t talk about it at the next time we meet.
I give up imagining you coming to your senses, and finally being just like me.
I give up unfriending you.
I give up sending you long texts and emails and forwarded messages from experts.
I give up, because I see what hanging on has gotten me.
It has made me want to fix you. To put you under a microscope and examine everything you say, every look you give, every post you write, every political reference and social meme. It has made me want to dissect you. It has made me blend you in with a thousand others who I don’t even know.
It has made me fear you, worry about you, avoid you.
It has made me turn myself inside out to mold me into something you can identify with, in the hopes I can unmold myself back to what I actually am before everything hardens. It has made me wonder if I should harden anyway, take a stand, refuse to budge. Write the manifesto. Put my foot down once and for all.
It has made me worried, angry, fearful, depressed, resentful, harried and tired.
I can’t change your path. I can’t make the world in my image. I can’t call a moratorium on grief or pain or injustice or greed or ignorance or shame. I can’t claim a monopoly on virtue. I can’t justify myself to you. I can’t invent the thing that will coerce people to love each other, to forgive, to listen, to be patient, to sacrifice self interest, to try again, to endure. I can’t see into your soul and marvel at all the complexity and depth that got you where you are. I can’t even see into my own soul enough to understand fully my own place and how I got here. All my best intentions are mostly, in the clear light of day, reactions based on my own prejudices, my own needs, my own failures and illusions.
So I give up.
Consider this my surrender.
Instead, I will ask how your kids are, and how your pets are. I will inquire politely about your day, and wonder if you had a good one. I will tell you about mine, if you ask.
I will ask if you need anything from me.
I will hold open the door for you, and won’t mind if you didn’t thank me.
I will listen to you when you are saying something that gives me worry or resentment, and I will choose instead to look as deeply at you as I can, trusting that my eyes can see your humanity even when my ears hear something that would make me slam the door to my heart.
I will admit I am wrong.
I will ask for your forgiveness.
I will not cross the street to avoid you.
I will put down my posts, my articles, my Facebook examples, my data and my reasons. I will risk listening to you beyond your words.
I will do what I can . I will support the charities that do what I cannot. I will strive to understand and respect.
I will assume the best, and when I can’t, I will try for deeper understanding.
I will honor my commitments and do my best to be simply decent.
I will stop assuming that I understand your life, and that you should understand mine.
When I am about to take a step back into the battlefield, I will first open my eyes and breathe. It may well be the best and only thing I should do.
I will surrender my pride and my reputation and the esteem I would want you to have for me.
I will choose stillness before action, and action only as it shows love.
I will choose first to surrender to what is true, and respond with what is just and kind.
The only way I see myself able to do any of this is to give up my life back to the One who gave it to me with the same lack of restraint He showed first.
So, God help me…I surrender.
I give up.