This past week concluded the end (or nearly the end) of a project that I have been struggling to complete for three weeks. The project was forced upon be by the failure of a five year old search engine (using the term loosely). Had it not been for that failure I would never have touched the project. More pressing, it was that the old program represented one of IT's greatest accomplishments and failings: the replacement of a manual process with a technological one. This meant that the failure of the old search engine was interfering with normal business operations across the company making it's replacement a pressing issue.
For two weeks I struggled with finding, testing and trying to build a replacement without any success. In the first week I found many good solutions that would replace the old search with the same features we currently had, but not allow for any new features or innovations. In the second week of searching, I tried to cobble together various solutions into a custom built solution that would give us the features we had and add some for the future. By the middle of the week I realized that I would need to build the new engine from scratch. By the end of the week I was banging my head into the wall out of frustration. The coding was too hard. On Tuesday I decided to give up and call a friend. A couple of hours and a small fee later, I had the missing cog in the new engine.
More surprising to me than the engine working—things work all the time—was the overwhelming relief that my surrender brought. There was no more useless struggle, no more needing to take long walks after only a short period of working, no more wondering why my code did not work. Instead, with the missing piece in place, the rest of the project just coasted to completion.
This whole experience got me thinking about life, God and C.S. Lewis (in that order). I find that often in life there are things that I cannot do but I know that God can. I guess it is these times, when I am pressed against my limits (not the imaginary ones that I could push through if I really wanted to, but the actual physical limitations of this corporeal form) that I need most to surrender and, as C. S. Lewis infers in his writings, that it is when I surrender to God that He can then take over and make everything flow.
I do not expect that I will remember this lesson for long, nor do I hope to—how will I know my limits if I give up before finding them. Instead, I hope that the next time I surrender after exhausting myself that it will be as blissful as this time.