which is always a very interesting place to be, isn’t it? Not always comfortable – no, not at all. But interesting – well, hah, yeah.
I said those five words a lot last year. So come to think of it, I guess it seems pretty fitting to start 2020 with them, too.
How about you?
I’m going to take a guess and say that I bet your last year has provided you with some plot twists.
In fact, your whole story has probably included quite a few of them. Good ones. Hard ones. Ones you’d love to relive and others you wish you could forget.
Actually, I think we’re both probably pretty familiar with that phrase. It seems like life has a way of swooping in and messing royally with our best-laid plans. At least, that’s been my experience. (*Note: if you’ve managed to keep life in line with all your plans, message me immediately. I want to know the secrets. We’ll write a bestseller and retire to the Caribbean.)
And in a kind of funny twist, I definitely had something else planned for writing in 2020. I was all set to go with a completely different idea, writing about life and young adulthood and what is possible to accomplish with the years we’ve been given. (Stay posted. Maybe we’ll work back to it eventually.)
And then, just as it has for so many, many people over the years, a phone call one otherwise normal autumn evening changed a lot about my life (again). One of my dear siblings was diagnosed with a significant health issue, requiring sudden doctor visits, lifestyle changes, and a whole horizon-full of unknowns.
Suddenly all future plans went on the back burner while we just tried to get through the ensuing few weeks. I ended up moving across the country back home, without knowing any specifics about timeline or details. And we abruptly found ourselves exploring a whole new kind of world – one we really didn’t want to have to explore. Most of this came on the heels of a long last several years where our family faced down cancer and heart defects and some resulting emotional…shall we say, chaos? 🙂
It’s been a long road. Not as long or hard as that which many others have walked, with courage and steadfastness. But still long.
Maybe you’ve faced something similar. Or maybe you’ve faced down an even more difficult hardship. Maybe you’ve experienced deep trauma or abuse. Maybe your family has. Maybe you’ve lost someone. Or more than one person.
Maybe your road has already demanded more courage of you than you thought you could ever possess in a lifetime.
Another thing. There’s a hard, deep, sweet lesson I’ve learned about bravery over the years.
Bravery isn’t just about being bold in social situations, or tackling a tough new job, or moving across the country (or to a new country), or flat-out muscling through moments of stomach-churning anxiety.
No, dear one.
Bravery is also about learning who we are, and refusing to place our identity in the wrong things. And saying hard good-byes. And choosing to believe truth when it hurts less to accept the lie. And holding on, and letting go. And waiting when we want to charge. And taking the tiniest of steps forward when everything else feels too heavy to move.
And making the choice to hope when everything seems dark.
I’ve prayed a lot for courage over the years. Often something quick like this, especially in the midst of a stretching or scary situation.
“Lord, make me brave.”
Yes, amen, and amen.
It’s a prayer I’ve prayed so, so many times.
I think we can all picture people we know or have heard of who are “brave” people. They are strong. Courageous. Seemingly unswervable. They naturally live in this place called “bravery”, or else they moved there long ago and have set up permanent residence.
But you know what? I think this perspective can get a little skewed. Because contrary to this way I used to see it, bravery is not a place we arrive at. It’s not the sort of thing you can type into your GPS and get directions to, or an estimate on how many delays you’ll experience en route.
And that’s okay. Because brave isn’t a destination.
Brave is a journey.
So yeah, 2020 doesn’t look like I thought it was going to. Nor do my writing plans. But maybe, after all, writing about courage and bravery is just the road I need to take this year.
Maybe it’s the road you need to take, too.
And if that’s the case—regardless of whether you have giant-sized courage decisions to make or tiny heart-shaped ones—then we can walk together. And maybe, just maybe, at the end of 2020, we’ll find ourselves further along the road to brave than we were when we started.
Carpe diem, dear friend. If you want to run with me, let’s hit the road.