Monday, December 29, 2008

the lion

another poster in the spin room has this to say:
the thrill is not just in the winning, but in the courage to join the race.

the word "thrill" seems a little strong to me, but perhaps it's more accurate than I think. there is a little bubble of energy and excitement that comes with decisions that put us outside our comfort zones.
and I like the concept that it takes courage just to join the race: by accepting that, I give myself a mental pat on the back. which is something we all need to do from time to time.

I've discussed courage before, but it's one of those topics that comes around again and again, at least in my life. I'm not starting a pity party, and my intent is not to arouse sympathy; I simply need to acknowledge some facts. perhaps it's that "nearing the end of the year" evaluation and assessment time, or perhaps I'm feeling a little melancholy because we're in the holiday season which is full of expectations and encounters and --- to be honest --- no small amount of stress.

regardless, I am reflecting on the courage I've had to dredge up during my adult life. it seems like I've had to find a whole lot within myself. it doesn't always come quickly or easily, but it has come. at times I've dragged it in by its little toe, but it has come. at other times I have had to beg it into existence, stretching it into an enormous blanket and wrapping myself in it, attempting to cover every single centimeter of exposed skin. and it came.
I've accepted loss, I've made difficult decisions, I've stuck to my truth when it was abhorrently uncomfortable. I've walked away from good things because they weren't exactly what I needed. I've made myself vulnerable; I've stood firm when to move away would have been a thousand times easier. I've done a thousand things I didn't want to do, knowing that they would ultimately strengthen the me I am.
I've walked into rooms alone more times that I want to think about.
I've faced hateful things with little more than my own psyche to stick up for me.
I've given up things I loved because I know they belonged somewhere else.

God gave me a pretty good brain, and a huge heart. He gave me a great home. I didn't need to search for the things the scarecrow, the tin man, or dorothy had to. but apparently I was the lion, destined to find courage somewhere, somehow. I've had help along the way, but it's like so very many things in life: no one can do this for you.

I've pulled courage from deep down within myself, let it stand tall behind me, and joined the race. it doesn't always feel good, and sometimes it's outright painful. sometimes it causes great sadness, sometimes tears.
and yes, sometimes because I have found courage within myself, I get to experience that teeniest, little thrill.

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