This morning, I was sitting at a dining table not my own, lost in my thoughts and absent-mindedly fingering a charm that a good friend gave to me on Sunday for Christmas. The charm hangs from a silver chain and imprinted on the charm are two words: Be brave. When I snapped out of my thoughts, I wondered where my mind and my heart were on this day last year. You know what's funny? My heart and mind were on the same message, that of being brave. I wrote a post from my heart to the world on December 15, 2008, which I've copied below. When I read my own words from this time last year, I couldn't believe how applicable they were today. Somehow the me in the past was reaching out to the present me. I'm so glad she did because I found a reminder and comfort waiting for me in that post. Perhaps you can use her words again this year too.
An Early Christmas Gift
I was thinking about you earlier today. To be truthful, I've been thinking about you all day. I've been wondering what to get you for Christmas. I had no idea. I kept coming up short. My ideas weren't enough. They weren't meaningful enough, didn't connect enough, they kept falling short of enough.
Tonight though, I realized I was trying too hard. Gifts of this season are not about pomp and circumstance. Tonight, I realized that the gift I have for you is not one I can find in a store, purchase, wrap and hand over to you. Tonight I realized that what I have for you is something that was given to me. Two words, two magnificent words.
Every challenge I have faced in my life, from early years through high school and college and into my career, through heart break and loss, my father would calmly sit while I poured out my stress, confusion, sorrow and grief, and he would quietly but resolutely say to me, Be brave. Every challenge I've faced since losing my father, including losing my father, I've heard his words of advice echo back to me again and again. Be brave.
And with those words, I would realize that I could face what was before me, tackle the challenge or weather the fallout. They are not words of action or inaction, they are words of approach, of attitude.
And so I want to give you those words.
Whatever it is that you face in your life, the challenge, the sorrow, the confusion, the heartache, the destitution, the knots, the loss of faith, the hopelessness, I'm not going to preach to you, not going to advise you or make suggestions, I simply want to give you one of the greatest gifts given to me:
Be brave, my friend, be brave.
I'm not asking you to change your course or to understand something you cannot fathom at the moment. I'm not asking you to forgive or understand or extend an olive leaf. I'm not asking you to have faith or to put your troubles in the Lord's hands. I'm not asking you to seek therapy or to read this book or the other. I'm not asking anything. I'm simply offering these words: Be brave. And in giving you these words, in my heart and mind, I'm giving you my father's sage advice. Simplistic but powerful, in your darkest hour, you can do it. One minute at a time, one hour, one day. Be brave. You can do it, you can. You can face the moment, the day, the week, the future.
Please accept this Christmas gift from me, these two little words given to me over a lifetime, two little words I give to you now: Be brave.
Whether you need them today or hold on to them for the future. Forever and true, this gift of words will never fail you.
You know I love you. XOXO