I’d like to assert something here; that is, I’d like to put something down in writing for you fine readers to reach out and take hold of, if you desire. Here’s what I want to do, and I think you’ll rather appreciate it, so stay with me: I want to applaud you, my dear, for getting out of bed this morning.
Maybe you’ve noticed there have been a shortage of words coming from this direction lately (maybe you haven’t, but now you’re nodding your head and thinking, “Oh, yes, it’s been quite a few days, sister!”) Maybe you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to, but it’s OK if you haven’t because (spoiler alert) I’m going to tell you anyway.
I’ve been getting out of bed. Every morning. My alarm goes off and I snooze it twice before the thought of drinking coffee sounds as good as half-sleeping and snoozing in nine-minute increments. I slide my slippers on, hand-me-downs from my best friend (I don’t know why everyone in the world isn’t talking about the dramatic amount of life change that happens once you own slippers); I shuffle into the kitchen to make peanut-butter-and-banana toast, to drink orange juice and allow the day to settle upon me. Every morning it is this–Rise and shine, if you will. Drink the coffee, curl your hair, push your feet into boots, and go dance with the day. Or something like that.
Well, it’s been a lot, see, and I have a tendency to get overwhelmed, but I am actually against being overwhelmed, so I stopped that. In the middle of last week, I read someone else’s blog post, in which the topic was bravery. I didn’t actually agree with her definitions of being brave, so I started trying to concoct my own ideas of what it means to Brave, but all I could come up with was riding a bike (I don’t do that, but it seems like it would take nerve) and maybe cliff diving or cooking or something else of which I am scared. So, I asked Oswald the stuffed puppy, is it only being brave if it’s something you’ve never done? Is it only being brave if it’s going to be hard or painful or if there’s a 63% chance you won’t live through it?
No. That’s what I came up with, or rather, that’s what God whispered to me. And it was in the midst of one of the early-morning routines that He told me this: You’re brave for getting out of bed.
This is debatable for sure, though I’m not sure how scintillating a debate that would be (“It’s not brave!” “Is so!” “Is not!”), but it’s debatable nonetheless. There are mornings when my consciousness is not summoned, but rather, it slowly stirs. There are mornings (OK, and afternoons), when I sit someplace fluffy and drink cup of coffee after cup of coffee even though I’ve had plenty of sweet-dreamy sleep. These days, I would say, are not my Brave days. But some days, I leave the house. Ah, there it is: bravery.
“‘Harry–you’re a great wizard, you know.’
‘I’m not as good as you,’ said Harry, very embarrassed, as she let go of him.
‘Me!’ said Hermione. ‘Books! And cleverness! There are more important things–friendship and bravery and–oh, Harry, be careful!’”
And lately–Lately, these days have been filled until there are bulges in my planner and stretched to expand over the muchness of life, which can be overwhelming. And there’s a tendency, for everyone I think, to lie awake as sweet could-be-sleeping moments tick by and consider what didn’t happen. But, people, you’ve got to think about what did, and you’ve got to know you did that, whatever that happened to be for you.
I wrote a feature story last week, and a James Joyce paper (exciting but difficult, on account of Jimmy had some good brains in his head), and a couple of Facebook statuses. I read a whole book and answered the telephone and was the person someone called for help, and by golly, I helped her. I kept my cool when it seemed rather hot in the room, and sure, I sweated, but that’s a homeostasis thing, I believe. I danced when I heard the music, and I admitted that sometimes I couldn’t hear the music, PLEASE TURN IT UP, OK, thank you, that’ll do. And this paragraph is all about saying, look, I did these normal life things, and I know you did too, and so please, see it with me: We’re the brave ones. We’re all brave for heading out into a world that loves us well but sometimes chooses to come against us. We’re all brave for doing what we do even when we forget why we do it, and we’re brave for doing something new, and we’re brave for doing the same old things. We’re brave for showing up, and if sometimes we don’t show up, that’s OK. No one said you had to be brave all the time. Sometimes, you can be other things.
So I’ve been being brave, that’s where I’ve been, and whether you know it or not, that’s what you’ve been doing, too. Don’t you like the way that feels? Don’t you like thinking about you went to class this afternoon when you could have napped and my, aren’t you a brave little hobbit!
That picture has nothing to do with brave little hobbits, but isn’t it pretty? Anyway, friends, I commend you for getting out of bed this morning, and the day after that, and last week, and every single time, it’s a feat, because you have cold toes in the mornings. And for that, I recommend slippers.