Remember the time I was brave enough to paint my fingernails mint green? (You can read about it by clicking here.) Yeah, since then I haven’t strayed from the pink/red spectrum. And they’re currently an excellent neutral. With just a tiny bit of glitter. I mean tiny bit. You wouldn’t even notice it unless I pointed it out (which I do more often than people would probably prefer). Bravery and courage is kind of a thing right now. People are talking about it all over the place. And it’s a good thing! Heaven knows this world requires some courage just to weather a Wednesday.
If we aren’t careful, though, we’re going to start mistaking boldness for bravery, and while both are sometimes needed, they are not synonymous. Look at this:
Boldness implies a lack of fear. Bravery implies courage in the face of fear. I suppose you can be bold without ever feeling afraid.
But you must know fear to know real courage.
Courage does not deny that the world is dangerous. Courage does not disregard the terror. Courage doesn’t ignore the frightening reality of this planet and its people. Courage stares straight into the terror. Courage wraps itself around the fear and responds.
Courage is not always bold.
Courage is not always exciting.
Courage is not always mint green.
Sometimes courage says, “I am not equipped to walk there.” Sometimes it says, “No.” Sometimes it says, “I’m sorry.” Sometimes it says nothing at all.
Sometimes courage bows its head when everyone wishes it would raise its voice.
Sometimes courage is the softest shade of pink against a backdrop of trendier hues.
I have found recently that a little bit of desperation may make us braver than any sense of boldness ever would. A little bit of desperation kills the pride that masquerades as timidity. A little bit of desperation makes room for a whole lot of courage.
It is brave to be you in this world that rushes by at maddening speed. It is brave to make your husband coffee and to brush your daughter’s hair and to sit through an entire meal without glancing at your phone. It is brave to be overlooked and not to forget your worth. It is brave to ask for help. It is brave to ask for guidance. It is brave to admit you were wrong. It is brave to volunteer. It is brave to quit the thing that makes you crazy. It is brave to whisper in a world that yells. It is brave to yell when needed.
So whatever your nail polish of choice is, paint them fresh this morning. Paint on the clear or the pink or the neon or the glitter. Or take the polish off it isn’t your thing. The world has plenty of everybody else.
It is brave, this Monday in November, to be you in a world where no one else can be.
So, quick! Tell us. What color are your nails? And what brave thing are you doing today?
*Definitions from Merriam Webster’s online dictionary: from Merriam Webster’s online dictionary: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/boldness and http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brave