I’ve always wanted to be a risk taker, someone that would chose dare over truth and spontaneously sky dive on summer vacation. Instead, I don’t enter the ocean unless draped over someone’s back, leaving him or her with severe nail marks upon our exit. I used to play pretend sick in elementary school on days I knew a dodge ball could be hurled my way. A few years ago, I almost did “scissor legs” when parasailing, the cue that you need to come back to the boat, but instead sang “Amazing Grace,” for fear that may be my final moment of life. I avoid driving and planes, rollercoasters and clowns, online dating and scary movies.
I used to give myself a break and chalk my lack of courage up to my extreme satisfaction with the here and now. I’ve said many times, “life is full of surprises, I don’t need to make any more.” I used to think my lack of courage only had to do with silly, unnecessary activities.
However, a few years back, I met someone extremely outside of my comfort zone. Christian meet Atheist. Extrovert meet Extreme Introvert. Tattooed, cynical bartender meet Optimistic rose colored glasses wearing teacher.
But…I loved him. The relationship and other big life events forced me to realize my lack of courage in the ways that matter. I struggled, and still do, with having the courage to truly embody a lot of other virtues: faith, hope, forgiveness, humility, and love.
If life really does exist outside of my comfort zone, then my life needs COURAGE…and a lot of it.
Courage to be the human being I want to become. Courage to figure out the woman God made me to be. Courage to be an extraordinary friend, daughter, sister, and hopefully one day, wife and mother, even when it hurts. Courage to be a good Christian even when countercultural and uncomfortable. Courage to change. Courage to never give up, to keep searching and hoping and learning and living.
I gave my key away a few days ago. I know that I obviously still need lots of courage. But I also wanted the courage to pass it on. It found a home on the wrist of a former student. She’s starting her first teaching job and I see a little piece of myself in her. She’s enthusiastic and ready to take on life. After listening to her talk of her hopes and her dreams, I know she will need courage to keep those dreams at the forefront of her life.
Although I still hesitate to go into the ocean and said no just the other day to joining a recreational dodge ball league, I am learning to courageously say yes to the opportunity to live a meaningful, oftentimes crazy, but purposeful life.