English is a wickedly twisted language. The word gift means a talent, a present, in English, but it is a cognate to the word Das Gift in German, which means poison, both words coming from the verb to give.
The many expressions about giving can be poisonous too: Never give in. Never give up. Never give a sucker an even break.
If you are the sucker, you might want to give yourself a break. Hanging on to old behaviors, old beliefs, old addictions, even old stuff can feel like giving in to the demands of others and giving up your freedom.
“Freedom comes from not hanging on. You gotta let go, let go, let gooooo,” runs through my head, a chant sung by Straight from the Heart. Letting go feels a lot like giving up and giving in, and most of us are not willing until we are, as my southern kinfolk say, completely “give out.”
Giving in is defeat unless you are in a contest of will between your ego and your soul. If the soul loses, so do you. Giving in is a compromise, often of principles—will you choose yours or someone else’s?
Giving up is not making the effort any more. Giving up is not trying. Giving up is being defeated. Releasing, however, is victory. Giving up anger, hatred, rage, and righteous indignation improves your quality of life. Not giving them up kills you.
What am I giving up, not for Lent but for life? Wheat. Dairy. That’s hard enough, but I find it almost impossible even to type Sugar. Am I just giving in to a fad of health-nuts condemning the staff of life and the land of milk and honey?
I am surrendering at last, giving in, to face the effects of these foods my body does not like.
I hope to prove that the phrase “Quitters never lose” is wrong. I want to lose the sinus infection, joint inflammation, and about 150 pounds of ugly fat by changing the diet I was raised on.
I am giving up, giving in, and letting go, even surrendering, with the goal of winning. I give a damn about myself, so I am going to give this a shot to avoid giving myself up for lost.
Then as I feel better, I can begin to give back. What a gift that will be.