Last week my husband and I went to Toronto to spend the weekend with our friends. We had a marvellous time. She just obtained her master’s degree, and I had my first book launch. It was an incredible blessing for both couples to be able to celebrate together.
My goodness, she knows how to celebrate, too. She made it special–invited my bonus parents for a luncheon party, made a scrumptious hazelnut mocha torte, and gave me a keepsake that will remind me of the wonders of our friendship every time I see it on my wrist.
The book launch challenged me to meet new people and meet with other contributors. At one point, they took a group photo–and looking at all the “paparazzi” was overwhelming. Still, we had a lovely time.
What impacted me most however, is the card she gave me.
What you did took a lot of courage, it said.
I’ve been thinking about that. All I did was write a short story and submit it to an anthology for publication. I’ve been challenging myself with the whole “Can I Write?” thing for a few years now, but this is the first piece that was selected for publication. I had been downplaying it, I guess, and not realizing that I had, but the story (you can find it in Chicken Soup for the Soul–Christmas in Canada) was a memory from my Christmases when I was small. It is an important memory, one that is joy-filled and sweet. And I put it out there.
It’s the first of three short stories for fall publication. The second was a contest entry (found in Stories of Passing Strangers) and again is a memoir bit from when I was a student in college. My friend and I met in that college. She said, “I never knew you felt like that.”
And I guess, that’s the point. It takes courage to put ourselves out there, to let people know what or how we’re truly feeling. Recently I had another conversation with someone–a heart-wrenching, gut-pulling, tears and hugs kind of conversation. She said that she didn’t know how to tell me what she was feeling, and that she was afraid of rejection. That’s a genuine fear. Rejection hurts. There’s no doubt that conversations like this can bring about pain.
That’s why it takes courage to put ourselves out there. As much as it can bring pain, it has an equal opportunity to bring genuine healing. Genuine understanding. Heart-strengthening compassion and joy.
It’s not easy being brave. My friend Celeste Barnard has been studying the subject this year. She’s been challenging people to “be their best brave” (and as a side note–Celeste is the one who encouraged me to submit my story in the first place). No matter the circumstances that ask you for courage, finding the brave is finding a bit of ourselves.
And celebrate the little things, because they just may not be as small as you first thought. Your little thing can change someone else’s life.
Your turn: what have you learned about courage lately? Come on, be brave–tell us about it in the comments.