What does bravery mean?

imageBravery…such a loaded word, with so many connotations. We want to think that we can act bravely or heroically should the occasion arise for us to do so, but I think of late the act of being brave has become diluted, or scoffed at in our society.  People often don’t want to get involved if it means they might have to step out of their comfort zone, become uncomfortable in some way.  Please..we silently beg, don’t look my way,don’t make me have to act..to draw attention to myself…don’t single me out!  I wonder why we have become so nervous to be seen?  Is it our pride, or have we become so afraid to be singled out, and stared at, so we just hope to melt into the background and disappear?  Let someone else do it we think, I did it last time and ended up with a whole lotta egg on my face, so we make a subconscious effort to not do that again.  We may have been hurt…because being brave costs us something, and there certainly is no written guarantee that we will receive sanything back for our efforts.

We are so used to looking for something back when ever we give…this makes me sad, and I believe destroys the art of giving of oneself.  When we think of heroes, or people doing harrowing acts we will certainly think of the men and women who take vows to lay down their very lives in order to defend our country.  But do we take this for granted?  Are we do filled with relief that somebody else volunteered before us so that we didn’t have to?  I’m speaking to myself here, not trying to fill anyone else with shame or remorse.  I have neices and nephews who are all in the military.  Marines, Navy, Army and Air Force.  I’m proud of these kids, Rob, KJ, Christina and Jessica.  They are brave, and we count on them being true to their word, because they took an oath, and they swore they would be.  I’m deeply humbled by their willingness to serve.  I pray for their safety, and plead with God that  they will never be called to give their greatest act of bravery in giving up of their life.  I try not to be fearful….but it ain’t easy.  I’m sure their Mom would agree…sweet Holly.  imageThis woman is brave..she was called to be.  I’m sure she had no idea how much of hero she would be called to be, but in my eyes, she certainly is.  She has overcome such loss, been through mistreatment, and intense heartache, but she has such a beautiful and caring spirit still.  She has not become bitter in the giving of herself.  She is a true overcomer.  What an example of grace under pressure, and the willingness to be brave, and to take a stand, even when the cost was immeasurably high.  She is a beautiful example to  her children and grandchildren of what it means to love without boundaries, and loving fully and unconditionally.  We desperatly need these examples in our lives, I know I do.  I need to be reminded that when you give it all to another person, it says you are willing them everything…here is my heart..open ..raw..I’m saying that I hope that you take it and nurture and treasure it, but I’m giving up my power, and if you want, you can crush me, you can obliterate my throbbing heart muscle.  This is risk. Sometimes it’s a calculated one, but I believe that at other times, we just can’t help ourselves.  We allow our selves to “fall” in love…not step into it…fall…this  meaning we willingly let loose of the reins, and let go… Man I think that is so brave!  We don’t think of it at the time, because we are feeling butterflies, and goosebumps all  over our bodies when we think of our beloved.  I guess in a way this is accidentally brave.  When our baby cries, and we first hold him/her in our arms, instantaneously we are blown away that this creation came from us..what in the world?… How can we just look into that red, pinched up and disheveled little face, and think..”I love you?”  Often our immediate other next thought is…I will fight for you, I will defend you, I will be brave for you no matter what.

Sometimes circumstances enter our lives, and we have to fight disease, mental illnesses, and our loved ones become afflicted with such ghastly suffering, and loss, we want to tear our hair out.  It destroys our hearts to see those we love in such distress.  I often say that illness takes far more than a “pound of flesh.”  I believe that it truly takes all.  Afterwards, we are wiped clean, sprawled out, and we are a gigantic open and infected wound.  There are no band aids that can be applied, no salve to heal, no pill to take….only time.  The old, and tiresome saying, “time heals all wounds,” should be flushed directly down the toilet.  Maybe there is some  truth to it, but me thinks, that when things have affected your life and your loss is so permanent and gaping, there is only life ahead, should one choose.  It’s the same options as you had before…to go on..or to not go on?  Do I choose to risk more loss, and so potential happiness, or do I not?  It’s a conscious, or a subconscious choice that we make every day.  I believe that we often look at people who have suffered so greatly, and think, I could never ever endure that.  Truth be told, we secretly are thinking, please don’t let me have to go through that.  It’s not that we wish disease or heartache on others, it’s just that we want to  hide and escape from pain, from disease…and ultimately from death.  The very stark reality is that we will all die.  There is no escaping this.  Doesn’t it make some sense to live in such a way to make sure that when we die, we had for sure truly lived?  These are the thoughts that are in my mind at present.  I want to forgive often and always.  I know that I have not always done this..I have held back..I’ve held grudges…they suck…they eat you alive, bring not a  lotta of joy..they are joy robbers.  I have decided I ain’t gonna do it anymore.  Does this mean I no longer will be hurt?  Of course not…I know this, and I also know firgiveness is continual, and can be quite tiresome.  I won’t want to, when the next need for it arises…but…if I want to live free, and offer grace, I must first offer those two options to myself.  I must be able to forgive myself for all the stupid and hurtful things I’ve done.  I must be willing to open up, and truly learn how to live better, and more fully.  This is risky, but I think this is the secret to living a life without regrets.  That saying that “without risk, there is no reward,” I guess may be true.  I always thought of it in a monetary light, but I’m thinking it’s about risking to live fully, no matter what the cost.  The cost could be high, and it could require all we have..including our life, but are we willing, will we stand against injustice, and hatred when our time comes….?  I hope I will.image  I can only pray that I will be prepared, and that my heart will be open.  A closed heart is no good to anyone, least of all yourself.  It makes you live on the periphery…and what’s the point in that?  Jumping in is the only choice worth taking…hurt when you are hurting..there is no escape..gather yourself closer to those you love, and do not let go, but also loosen your grip to allow others to enter your embrace.  As humans we have so much to give, so much light and love.  We must battle the darkness, the evil..we cannot let hatred and mistrust set up house in our hearts…we cannot.

“For God, who said, “let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”  2 Corinthians 4:6

We must fight for love, and we must never stop…there is too much hurting in this world that is just waiting to be transformed.  I don’t want  to tire of this mission, I want to love as if I was dying….because after all..each day we are all one step closer to the grave.  I apologize for being somewhat melodramatic, but it’s close to heart and mind right now.  After you bury someone that you dearly loved, your feelings are close to the surface…you feel acutely aware of others that you love, and you feel a keen sense of living without regrets.imageSo….as this little charm on my necklace says..I urge you..”be brave today.”

3 thoughts on “What does bravery mean?

  1. These are awesome thoughts Jill.
    Specially love the part about gathering yourself closer to the ones you love, but also loosening your grip so others can enter your embrace. ❤️


  2. Wow.. this rings so true from start to finish. I say amen and wish to give you a giant hug from afar. You, dear one, are one of the faces I would expect to see in the dictionary (if they posted photos) under the word Brave. Thank you for taking the time and expending the emotional energy to write things that touch those deep places of your heart and also ours.. those thoughts and feelings that most can’t or don’t find the words to express. Love you, courageous one! Xoxox…. jo


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s