On Friday, I wrote for a few minutes on the word prompt: Brave. For days, the word has rolled around inside me, gathering dirt and moss along the way. Brave gets dirty if we let it hang around for a while. I’m no trail blazer, friend. I find people who are doing big things and I hitch a ride. My husband is one of these people. Nearly every exciting thing that has happened to me, has been a direct result of placing my feet in his footsteps, on a path he paves. For a season, that was enough. While mothering my littles, it was enough for me to take his hand and let him lead because I was too scared and too bone tired to do anything else.
I spent countless hours reading to my littles back then. A favorite with my girls was The Very Lazy Ladybird. The story follows the ladybird as she decides to look for a new place to sleep, but first, she needs to find a comfortable way to travel. She latches on to all manner of animals, but none are a perfect fit for the journey. The tiger is too loud, the kangaroo too jumpy, the tortoise too slow. Each one is busy living life in the best way they know how, but none of their methods suit the ladybirds delicate sensibilities. Her final attempt to find the perfect place was on the trunk of a sneezing elephant. With an emphatic ‘Achoo’, he finally sent her flying to freedom and the realization that her wings were made for flight.
Following people who live brave is a good practice. I learned valuable lessons in the following, like how to take risks and live with passion. I learned how to chase dreams and what courage looks like up close. But there comes a time when practice is not enough, when we realize that following forged paths will not get us where we want to go. Brave beckons from an altogether new place, from behind thickets and hedgerows and thorny vines. Brave forces us to see that our fragile wings will bear our own weight, and they will make us fly. I still follow my husband because sometimes courage can be caught, but I’ve started to look for the new places too. The ones where I trample on vines and beat the air blue with my wings. And slowly, I am finding them.
Do you think about bravery too? What kind of path do you find yourself following? I just signed up for my first writer’s conference, which will require a certain amount of courage that I’m not sure I possess. How about you?