Sunday, December 4

everyday courage.

"This takes a different kind of courage," my sister says.

I hear the sound of cellophane, even through the phone, and I know she is packing lunches for her daughters for the next morning.  It is after midnight and I can practically hear her super-mom-exhaustion creeping into the conversation but I'm inspired by her and her everyday courage.

I admire the adventurousI'm young.  I gravitate toward all things loud, big, and extremeDifferent, outlandish, and unheard of.  I like daring plans, wild dreams, and the feeling of jumping headfirst into the unknown.

What happens, though, when all that fades away?

I'm at the point in my life where I can predict what I'm going to do tomorrow.  And the day after that.  And the day after that.  I'm a college student.  I do many of the same things repetitiously, and it's hard to always imagine life as a grand adventure.

My sister, too, does many of the same things.  And she has done them for years.  For her girls, for her family, for their life.  And she smiles at me when I talk about seasons of my life that have held adventure, because she knows that the seasons come and go.  They don't always last.

When the season is over, you need a new kind of courage.

You need a courage that is strong enough to embrace everyday life.  It's a different kind of courage, though, and it's not the same kind of bravery you need to jump headfirst out of an airplane.  The older I get the more I recognize the changing face of courage.  Courage can drive you forward or anchor you right where you are.  Depending on the season of life, it can be both the thrill that propels a risk, and also the steadiness of a quiet, consistent faithfulness.  You need a courage that goes to class and does its reading.  You need a courage that gets up and does the same thing every single day and still rests in its value.  You need a courage that sometimes goes overlooked. 

You need a courage that can face everyday life, including the good, the bad, the mundane, and the peanut butter sandwiches.  The everyday kind of courage.  It's in us, and all the little things we do.  Unrecognized, unnoticed.  Maybe underrated.

I tell her to get some sleep.  She laughs at me.  The small things matter just as much as the big ones do.  We chatter more, back and forth, around this truth.  We hang up and return to our small worlds, settling back into the rhythmic gears of everyday life.  She stocks the fridge with juice boxes, and I finish my critical theory paper.

The loudness of my youthful pride would tell us that we're not brave at all, that we should abandon our posts for something different, something more exciting.  But my heart knows--these are our tasks.  This is our chance to be faithful.  This is what we've been given and it may not be loud or exhilarating, but it is absolutely beautiful in its own brave way.  And that is enough.


amyellison said...

It's so true. It's the same kind of courage that makes a marriage work, or that keeps us from changing careers every other month. Courage where we are faithful in the little things, knowing that Our Father can work our faithfulness into whatever He would like it to be.

Thank you for writing, Elizabeth.

Sarah said...

I think this is my favorite posting from you yet. Definately what I needed to hear for this week. I've been needing some everyday courage. Thanks.