Everywhere I look and in every word I read, I hear,
Brave. Brave. Be brave.
We welcome in this dear girl, knocked around and emotionally roughed up by peers this school year, and she brings her self, an intact smile and quirky sense of humor as if she is not afraid, though she very well may be terrified.
The girls begin to spread their wings as they re-enter conversation, light giggles building to careening jumps and all sorts of games with a giant beach ball on the trampoline.
She is so brave, I think.
I can barely put down this book (The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown). It’s one friends have told me about for months, and then Monday I received it in the mail from a friend across the country, with her note a blessing of the good she sees in me, the hope she holds for me.
Brown’s words add to the brave, brave, be brave refrain, affirming life to waiting dry bones, stirring up what I’ve known, helping shake caked grime loose.
And as these things so often go, the timing couldn’t be more right, and I’m holding this book just hours after I am asked to be the speaker at a women’s retreat — my second such invitation in six weeks.
I’m stunned and excited and feel entirely ill-equipped.
I haven’t known what to do with the voice that says “write,” but write.
I haven’t known what to do with the strong nudge to do more speaking, but wait.
Because there’s been a murky gap between the years-ago prompting and a picture taking shape. To write, I pick up a pen or type on a keyboard. I can press “publish” or not, but I can and will write.
But you don’t just walk up before an unsuspecting group and proclaim, I’m here to speak. Listen up.
Like you (I suspect), I deeply want to do what I’ve been created to do. To live in the sweet spot where the world’s need and my gifts meet. Gratefully, I receive the opportunity to see glimpses of this in my everyday life, but still I live with the longing.
I’ve been holding a place for trust in the midst of uncertainty, wisps of vision swirling about with desire and the need to make the most of this one beautiful life — for Love and for love.
I’m taking some practical steps, yes. And I’m journeying with vulnerability and weakness, a good hunk of fear in the pack, too. I’m afraid of being rejected, of being too much or not enough, of laying myself out there bare, of having impure motives, of getting it wrong.
The sweet spot may be a mirage, but I’m trying to cling to my Guide who loves me right through broken parts and barren lands and promises I do not need to travel alone.
Though I’m feeling all the feelings, I am believing the still small voice that reminds me I am loved right here and now, with my wobbly knees, adventurer’s heart and childlike excitement, before I’ve even taken a step.
I say yes. I tell the truth. I practice brave.
I’m becoming more brave.
The girls run inside to play Italian restaurant, and I hear their raucous accents through the open window. I linger in the sunshine, my eyes following the path of the swallowtail butterfly that soars, careening through our yard into the next.
Liquid yellow and black wings open further with each pulse, and then she glides.