The Secret to a Seer's Magic: Three Modes of Surrender
This week, I embarked on my first school visit to talk about my book! A former colleague graciously asked me to talk to his students about how the Holy Spirit influenced my story, The Forgotten Seer. Leading up to my visit, I imagined these new students would take to me just like my former students did, and we’d all gather in a big book nerd circle and gab about magical realms and talking animals and writing allegory.
How did it go? Let's see ...
In the first class, a scary cohort of very cool athletes chuckled mysteriously in the back of the classroom and I was sure they were chuckling at me and my ridiculous pretend world!
In the second, it seemed there was a droll answer to every one of my all-too-sincere questions, and inevitably the class would laugh at that student’s wit, and I’d be left smiling and repeating my now mundane-sounding question: “So, like, does anyone else feel like it’s hard to believe God’s plan is infinitely greater than our own? Yes? No?”
In the final class, it seemed the vibe was much warmer. It was the last period of the day, and everyone feels chipper when they're about to go home, right? What ended up happening was that, when I asked if there were any questions, one young gentleman literally raised his hand to say, “Are we done, here?”
At this point, I am sure you are wondering whether the content of my talk merited such a lack-luster response. Believe me, it was both riveting and inspiring and without question all those students went home to ponder the mysteries of the Trinity as a result. But since you asked, I’ll tell you what I said.
The protagonist of my book, Tess Canyon, is a sixteen-year-old with vanity issues. She feels she deserves the world simply by being her beautiful, bossy self, and that there are no areas of her life needful of improvement. When her folly throws the dominion into war, Tess finally is confronted with her own ignorance. The magical object she betrayed now must be wielded in order to rescue her loved ones from death.
Tess finally comes upon the Keeper’s Hold, a shrine for the object that is rumored to be an ancient training ground for those chosen to wield it. There, an ancient soul offers Tess these words of guidance:
“The object you hold is a source of golden magic … This kind of magic requires a wisdom difficult to attain. But, in some sacred moments and with the help of the Weapon, a mortal will reach such heights.”
“The first mode of surrender … is confident obedience to the spiritus. When she speaks, act as you are bidden without doubt or skepticism. The second is selflessness. You must concentrate on those whom you serve. The final mode of surrender is acceptance of the future. Do not force your desired outcome, but calmly welcome whatever lies ahead … Of course, you can achieve many small things by submitting to one mode. But, abandon yourself to all three, and the Weapon will work miracles for the sake of your people.”
You know, it’s no coincidence that the Holy Spirit was the reason for my school visit. Because, if I take the wisdom of the Keeper’s Hold to heart, I see how those quirky little encounters were in no way a failure, but simply a response to the divine inspirer.
What if Tess had been asked by the spiritus to visit those children? How could she have responded?
- Obedience: No matter how scary those tall boys were, I hope she would have persevered in her lecture cheerfully and without taking offense. All this out of "confident obedience to the spiritus."
- Selflessness: With a little less of her trademark vanity and a little more humility, Tess might have sympathized with how challenging it is to be an adolescent. She’d remind herself that she was serving those young souls not for gratification but because she was called to serve.
- Accept the future: I have no doubt that, like me, Tess would have had high expectations for those talks. But, I seem to recall these wise words from a sage teacher and fiction writer: God’s plan is infinitely greater than our own.
Though Tess in no way masters these Modes of Surrender by the end of The Forgotten Seer (do I smell a trilogy???), she does grow in wisdom. Getting out of your own way will do that. I only hope the secret to a seer’s magic will continue to serve me in the future … at my next school visit! <scream face>