Dylan had an accident a month ago. The bird’s eye view is that he broke his arm. Up close, he had a traumatic fall, was rushed to the ER, went from ‘Oh, its dislocated and we’ll sedate him to set it’ to being sped into an emergency 2hr surgery and a stay in the hospital. We all had a chance to be tested.
“I’m not brave.” He told me lying in bed last night.
“Really, why do you say that?”
“Well, you know, the arm. I cried.”
“I don’t think bravery is not crying, or being scared. I think it is getting through. Doing what needs to be done.”
I am currently, and often afraid of many things: Having enough money, all of the things that can go wrong (in every area in every way), whether I am leaving things on the table with my choices (of course I am, all choices leave others on the table, but I am afraid of that.)
What is being brave? It was not hard to be ‘brave’ for Dylan during the accident. I am his mom, he was hurt, not horribly, but badly and his father and I had to get him help. The instinct to protect was as loud as my personal desire to take care of this little guy I love so much. I am not discounting what it took to show up for that, it just was not so much a choice as an internal mandate.
But it is hard to be brave in my own life with my own worries and ‘awfulizing*’ of what most of the time are fairly average mid-life concerns. I would like to amend what I said to Dylan about bravery. I don’t think it is just about getting through, because if you don’t die, you get through. And I don’t think it is just about doing what needs to be done because sometimes that is outside of choice.
I think bravery is about being conscious of all of life, and your situation/s and choosing pluck. Choosing to do what needs to be done because of a commitment to higher goals, even if those goals are simply to be happy in the day.
I am not interested in a bravery that is synonymous with fearlessness. Fearlessness is disconnection. I want the idea of bravery that is closer to ‘resolution.’ I like the idea of bravery as being entirely connected to the reality of what is or can go wrong and having a higher sense of the mission at hand.
“Dylan, really, you did great and I am proud of you. That was a lot.”
“Well Mom, you were by my side.”
Having a life worth living with all that is scary takes bravery. Jesus it is worth it.
Awfulizing: def—making more awful any given situation by focusing on what is so awful now or what could be awful about it in the future.