Courage

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I love this quote… And what is courage? I quoted this line to myself as I went into an interview last week. I quoted this to my little charge as she fell off a balance beam last September. I whispered it to the little one I watch who bumped into a wall in her endeavor to run on her tip-toes yesterday. So what is it that I am whispering to those children as they grow? What am I telling myself as I walk into brave new worlds? And so began my pondering of the meaning of courage. Here is my feeble gathering of it’s vast definition…

Courage is acting upon truth with conviction. It is standing when you believe you should stand, though your legs threaten to fail beneath you. It is loving when you know it is right, even when your mind is screaming anger and hate. Courage is the roar of a lion in the barren Sahara. Courage is a mother who allows her child to run, and encourages them to try again as they fall. Courage is the child who swims farther then their feet can touch the sand. Courage is as love, an action over a feeling. Courage is the noun created to give meaning to a verb that is too extraordinary for description.

So, what is it that I mean when I repeat, “Courage, dear heart.” I mean to embrace the belief and conviction inside of you. Feel that belief like the lion feels the beginning of a roar tickling their throat. Courage dear heart, you were made to roar.

The Sweet Unexpected…

What could I write about the last week? Bagels? Australia? Hockey? Driving? Interviews? My man coming for a visit? A diamond in the rough purchase during thrift shopping? I could type a hundred sentence that should never string together and it all happened in the last seven days!

One of my best friends found herself in a mid college crisis and needing a beach weekend. Though I warned her that my beach is 23 degrees out, she loved me enough to fly in to this second home anyway! So in she flew, my Sherlock, and off we went on adventures. Many naps, coffees, and bagels later we found ourselves in a thrift store shopping for an interview outfit! In the midst of the 80’s vests, oversized jeans, and insanely creepy dolls scattered about we found some amazingly beautiful thrifting finds. I looked like a professional nanny in the amazing blazer! Sherlock gives the most amazing fashion advice, it was amazing to have her to shop with.

It was even more amazing to have her with me as I zipped off the next day for an unexpected interview for a full time Nanny position. I have to be honest, I have never interviewed for any full time position! I was shaking in my high heels! I had prepped a resume, gone over my techniques for childcare in my head, and read up on a philosophy that I knew the mom adhered to. After waiting twenty minutes in the lounge of the apartment building the mom made it down to interview me. Surprisingly, my nerves disappeared when she sat down to talk to me. I knew what I was talking about, what I had to offer, and what I needed to know. I felt like it went as well as it could have. And even if I never hear back from her, I feel good about the experience!

Later that day I met my Amazing Aussie friend Tori in NYC! She just happened to be visiting and I have not seen her for SEVEN years! We hopped on the train and headed back to my home town to watch my younger brother play hockey. We laughed that Tori learned the National Anthem watching Seventh Heaven on TV. Her exposure to hockey had been the Winter Olympics, so this was a fun experience for her. She loved it so much she slept over to go to my brother’s morning game too! We talked about Pride and Prejudice, and laughed all the while that we live on the opposite sides of the globe and are still so similar.

After waving goodbye to her I went off to work and was surprised to have my knight in a sweatshirt and patchouli show up with Starbucks coffee half way through my shift! It was a beautiful surprise, and I loved seeing him earlier than expected. After work we headed off to my brothers hockey games and he held my hand the whole weekend as I screamed my voice away cheering for Bubba and his team. Luckily my family and Jake could understand my scratchy voice in the days to come.

Endless cups of tea and honey later I can  finally recognize my own voice. It’s been seven days of insanity and now my house is quiet. My family is away on a retreat, my doggy is asleep, and I am settling in to cheesy shows on TLC. What a wonderful rest after the beautiful unexpected moments of the last week…

To love…

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” -C.S. Lewis

And I have loved… And I have swam freely in the deep ocean of love. To feel the waves crash over me in a fit of surprise and giggles. To feel the water push me to an fro. To see the water go on longer than the horizon. I have felt the water wash the sand from my toes as I swam deeper than my feet could reach. And in that ocean of waves, there is vulnerability.

Lately I have discovered a different way that vulnerability affects me. I have been vulnerable and tasted the salt air and the freedom in love. And of late, I have been cast to the shore. I have been sitting upon the shore viewing that ocean before me and feeling as though it is just out of reach. It’s there! I am loved deeply. I am supported. I am encouraged. Yet the people who I love are far away. They have a busy schedule, just like me. I no longer walk back into a dorm room filled with faces.

I am teetering on adulthood. I am waiting for the moment I feel grown up and settled. I am staring at an ocean that I long to swim in fully, and feel as though I am merely on the edge. Every once in a while the ocean waves crash over me and I feel the elation of being vulnerable. In between those moments, there is a certain loneliness to vulnerability. But over all, being vulnerable is far better than hiding in a casket. I will not be broken. For the beauty and pain of vulnerability brings a fuller life than the emptiness of burying a heart before it dies.

So bring on the challenge of walking on the sand. For in these moments, I am aware of how loved I am. I have a stunning view of the beauty that spreads before me, an ocean that is deeper than I know…