[Quiet Thoughts] to be Brave

Photo: Finally! Finally! It only took forever to get both socks done. But ohhhhhh the satisfaction, the warmth… handknit socks really are just the ultimate of luxury and comfort. The ultimate.


I have two college friends who were destined to be together. They got married and we all held our breath for the adorable, hilarious babies who we knew would come. They struggled with infertility for many heartbreaking years, chronicling each false start, each loss… it’s a hard story, one that was really sad. But then they chose to open up the hearts and their home to infant boy born in Baltimore. Readers who have been with me for a long time will recall the blanket I knitted for him when he was first born. Well, he became a big brother last week. My friends did it again: they opened the door to an infant born in Baltimore, committing to love him and raise him and bring him to adulthood.

Ever since I stepped into my church pulpit last Sunday, I’ve heard the word “brave” a whole bunch of times from a bunch of different sources. “You’re so brave for getting up there and doing that,” people have said. I’ve thanked people for their kindness, but I’ve struggled with that particular term. I’m a storyteller and a writer. Writing and telling stories is what I do. To get up and tell a story in a room full of people who love me isn’t really an act of bravery. Not as I see it, anyway. Especially in the context of knowing what my friends have just done.

I can’t think of anything that takes more courage than adopting a child. During a conversation with my uncle a few months ago, I spoke about my continued yearning for a third baby and a little girl. He said to me, “there are lots of little Black girls out there who would love to be adopted. Why don’t you and [The Husband] make a dream come true for one of them?” I’m almost ashamed to write that we have thought about it before, but we always circle around to the risks, the expenses. Indeed, all the reasons why we haven’t just tried for a third are the same, or closely similar, as not wanting to adopt.

But in my yearning, which has not abated despite the incredibly overbooked life I’m living, there has been a tension and a wondering. I’ve often asked myself: if I were a braver woman, a more loving woman, would I welcome another child into this family? Do I personally have the capacity to love a child with as much strength as I do my two boys? I think I do. I hope I do. But I’m not sure I’m brave enough to test and see.

We’ll not all the same. What’s natural for one person is absolutely paralyzing for another. I stood in front of a congregation and told a story with a moral message. My friends added a new member to their family. These are apples and oranges to compare, but there is shared similarity: from the outside, these are “brave” acts, worthy of praise and admiration.

My Quiet Thoughts this Friday evening are on this word “brave” and what it means. Everyone has a different definition and everyone has a different capacity for it. When demonstrated effectively, I think bravery can be contagious. One person inspires another and that next person inspires another in turn. Perhaps bravery, in all the ways it manifests in any given person on any given day, is what makes the world go ’round.

It feels like we’re living in a world that is almost completely devoid of bravery. Where there are people out there who are up and fighting for a better world every day, it feels as though others have simply decided that their best self is the one that fears difference and challenge. Life is not easy to live. Being a member of a diverse body politic requires work and aptitude. Your propensity for critical thinking is required. Functional reading on context is a must. Bravery starts with a firm understanding of ones own humanity and then grows when in service to others. Where does your bravery lie, Dear Reader? What brave thing did you do this week?

It’s a chilly evening here in MetroWest, but I’ve got the windows open anyway. The fox babies are bigger and playful and they’ve started to get their pretty redish orange coloring. Fox Mama has been heard taking the babies out for hunting and such at all hours of the night. She’s also released them out from under the barn soon after I bring my boys inside for dinner. “You kids better go outside” seems to transcend species barriers. Motherhood is taxing no matter who, or what, you are. God bless all the Mamas and all the women of all titles who raise children. You are wonderful because every day you choose to be brave.

It’s Friday and Fridays are for wishes. If you’re a Mama, I wish you peace and quiet and 20 minutes of everybody leaving you alone! For real. I mean, I know we’ve gotta go through the brunch and stuff and smile and endure all the pink and stuff, but just… I wish you a chance to get the thing you really want, which is a damn break. I wish you a partner who knows that and will take your precious little gifts from the universe and go somewhere for a while. With that time, I wish you a good book, a glass of wine, a little television to binge… something purely indulgent that is just for you that you don’t have to share. If you lovely Dear Readers who aren’t Mamas, but have Mamas, I wish you warm smiles and happy thank yous from your mama and the other women you’ve thought of this weekend. May they warmly embrace you, tell you how much they love and adore you, embarrass you with a story about something horrible you did as a child, and then drink a little wine with you. Motherhood is about collecting stories and sharing at just the right moment for full effect. 🙂 I wish you brunch that isn’t crowded, a card in the mail from someone you didn’t expect, and one good moment for you to stop, be silent, and bask in the beauty of your life. This world is a beautiful place simply because you are in it, Dear Reader.

You are loved. Not because of who you are or where you live or what you’ve done, but simply because you are, Dear Reader. There are people in your life who lovingly admire you. In a world gone made, you stand as a steady, sure role model of bravery for someone. You expand their understanding of who they can be because you choose daily to be the best you can be. Shine, Dear Reader. Do it even when you think no one is watching. Do it even when you think it doesn’t matter. Do it because you know that light radiates. The brighter you shine, the more others will do the same, and the brighter the whole world will become.

Until Monday, choose to be brave and shine on.


PS: If you haven’t already, please check out the post I wrote up for Basic Invite this week. Sponsored posts like that help me support my blog and, hopefully, bring even more nice, helpful offers to you, Dear Reader! Take a moment to read the post, check out the Basic Invite website, and perhaps share with any of your friends who are planning big life events life graduations, baby showers, first communions, weddings, or anything that could use a beautifully printed invitation. A tweet, a Facebook link, or even just a quick email to a friend, makes a lot of different. Thank you for your help and support!  Thank you!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. “You are loved. Not because of who you are or where you live or what you’ve done, but simply because you are” — thank you for these words! Happy mama’s day.

  2. Trish says:

    Thanks for the fox update. I love the image of mama fox waiting to hear you close the screen door so she can push her babies out into the yard.

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