"I'm scared. But I'm going to have courage and try it."
"A" is my seven year old grand daughter. This was her statement during a card game during our Thanksgiving celebration. While her simple act of courage did not change the world or save a life, it was a reminder to me how critical our simple words of encouragement can be.
Sometime over the past year, "A" expressed her fear regarding something a bit more dangerous, though the details escape me. I took the opportunity to explain that courage allows us to act in the face of fear. It was a brief experience, but here we are a year or so later and she obviously remembered it and applied it appropriately.
This brief experience reminded me of our lives in recovery. I have heard every one of us either express acts of courage or demonstrate bravery and courage as we share our stories of living with our trauma. The courage we live when we admit to ourselves our state of uncontrolled efforts to face our fears without our substances and behaviors. I think of the courage it takes us to perform an act of honesty with ourselves and those sharing our journey.
I don't know how to quantify courage, and that's OK. I'll simply appreciate the amazement when I hear some one admit that they are worthy of respect. I'll store the images of the pain that are encountered when I observe us reach out with a hug, bravely accepted in an act of surrender to the healing that is being offered.
My hope is strengthened every time we exercise the courage to show up for and with each other. We become vulnerable to our history of trauma, and willing to leave a bit of it in each others souls with the reassurance that we are the mysterious presence of a Higher Power that needs our skin to be fully experienced.
So my dearest A, I am deeply grateful for your simple statement, and the power you expressed to all of us. I pray that the seed planted a year or so ago will continue to grow. One day your courage is going to be the hope that some one needs to make it through another day or hour or minute. Those of us who are going ahead of you are encouraged by your willingness to learn this lesson today because we know. We know the fears and pains of life that are the seeds of courage and bravery that bring love to life and hope to our damaged souls.
Thanks again, A. While you don't realize it today, you are with us beside the restful waters.