I have spent so much of my life on the periphery. Watching. Observing. Talking. Planning. I set up my world to be more comfortable than challenging, more safe than daring. It wasn’t intentional. In fact, I thought I was enlightened, brave, bold, and spiritual. I had done a few hard things and danced a few dances with some success. I didn’t live in complete hiding, but I surely wasn’t living with wild abandon either.
Writing, analyzing and crafting my view of the world came fairly easy to me. (I once took a course in college, where the teacher gave me an “A”. However, she qualified it by saying, “I have no idea what you just talked about but you did it so well I’m going to give you an A.” ) Her comment haunted me for years. She wasn’t the only one who didn’t know what I was talking about, I didn’t know either. Not that a lack of knowing was ever a problem. I could make you and sometimes even me think I knew what I was talking about. Observe and articulate, but don’t live, was my subconscious internal mantra.
There is no clear date in my mind of when I stopped living, but I know that I did. Early on, I bought into the message that daring was deadly. Fear, of, well, nearly everything, goes back for me as far as I can remember. Maybe the early days as a child in the Charismatic movement contributed to it. It could have been the feeling of abandonment and heartache around my parents divorce during the tender years of my youth. It could have been a million things I guess. And yet, figuring out where it came from might be like trying to find a needle in a hay stack. The real question is , WHAT NOW?
It’s become very clear to me that the periphery, while an option and even a choice for some, doesn’t work for me. I want more for my life than simply having watched everyone else live. So I have chosen to do things that require ME! Not only is this life I’m choosing requiring me to show up, but to dive in, to be vulnerable, to expose the secrets, to tell the truth, and to let go (this is the hard part), of the results.
Brave, for me, looks like this: I quit saying I wanted to get married, and I got married. I hired a guitar teacher and learned to play. I’m not great, but I play, in front of people. Then there was this crazy idea that floated into my head about songs, that were actually buried in the hearts of all humans. What if I could get these songs out? One story, one heartache, one soul at a time, what if I could write these songs and people actually healed? My first try at it, every therapist on the campus refused to let their clients participate. Can you blame them? At the time, my only credential was a hit on the radio and a degree in creative writing, neither of which warrant a therapist trusting me. Instead of their patients, they decided I would have to do it for them. Oh my, I’m gonna have to try my idea on a group of therapist. Now this was, well, me getting in the middle. Turns out, they loved it, which was great. And I got some credentials, however, the real point for me was, I did it.
I’ll be honest, brave isn’t comfortable, but it is living in the middle. I’ve got this little part of me that really wants to show up before my God having taken all the breaths He gave me and actually lived them. I can’t see myself walking into Heaven saying, “Let me tell you what’s going on down there, what I observed.” No way! I want to arrive like a running back, breaking through the attempted tackles, turning lose, letting it rip all the way to the end zone, ball in my hand…. TOUCHDOWN. Handing over the game ball, knowing I played the game, yeah, that’s how I wanna arrive before my Maker.
What’s your brave? What’s your middle of life? Do that thing you don’t think you can do. There’s a chance the fear could make you throw up. Who cares. Do it any way. We are only here once.
Sending you love wherever you are in the world.
(yeah, we had a grown up girls dance party. everyone should do this. fantastic.)