That's a dirty word in American society, isn't it? I am independent. I am not submissive. I know my own mind and no one can tell me what to do. Right? Except for when we're not independent. Except for when we do what we're told. Except for when we frequently submit our wills to any number of things and people around us. It's how we stay on the road when we're driving, it's how we keep our jobs, it's how we stay in relationships, it's how we live.
If we didn't submit to the utilities services and pay our bills when they demand that we do, we would be without electricity or water or garbage removal (with the possible exception of Mark on his mountain.) If we didn't submit to our bosses and show up every day or when we're scheduled and do the job that is required of us, we would quickly be without a job. If we didn't occasionally submit to our loved ones, we would become bores and chores and probably find ourselves without said loved ones eventually.
I spent this afternoon watching eleven preschoolers, tired and cranky from a busy day at school and all hopped up on sugar, whine and grab and run and ignore their parents. There are any number of torturous hells I would have preferred to endure. There are any number of really fun things I could have been doing. I could have been taking a nap. But, I submitted. Because a little boy with brown eyes painstakingly made thirteen rocket ships out of Lifesavers and Hershey kisses and paper to give to these little miscreants and his teachers. Because my needs are important, but sometimes it is necessary to set them aside to watch little grubby hands carefully deliver love notes into decorated paper bags. So I find the joy in watching him navigate the bedlam that is a preschool party. I swallow the urge to tell someone else's kid to blow their nose. I, once again, sit on my hands so they do not reach out and pet a mom's fur coat. I smile and make appalling small talk and wipe the frosting out of my hair. I submit to this out of love, out of necessity, and in the service of something greater than my own comfort.
We all submit in one way or another. It is another kind of submission that occupies my thoughts tonight, though. It's the same word for a different kind of act, but it carries some of the same ideas. I have a submission. The big envelope with the scary words: "Attn: Editor" in the address. I have dutifully counted my words, checked, double checked, quintuple checked all of the necessary information I must include. I have edited and cut and pasted and read, re-read, re-re-read and edited again. There are any number of ways to torture myself. There are any number of really fun things I could be doing. I could certainly be taking a nap. But now I submit. Because the time for doing other things has passed. Because I have run out of excuses. There are any number of things I could be doing. But instead, I submit. And in this, like in all the other ways I submit in my life, I submit this out of love, out of necessity and in the service of something greater than my own comfort.
And now I will take a nap.
Originally published on Periphery.