Have I been Brave?

A bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils

“Don’t you just love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” / Photo by Elizabeth Miles

Fall has arrived, at long last. It was officially official last week when I was overcome with the urge to build the first fire of the season and rewatch You’ve Got Mail while making a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils to send to my friend Elizabeth.

Elizabeth and I used to share a cubicle at work–a cubicle and a love for Nora Ephron wisdom. As I’m sure you know, You’ve Got Mail is rife with quotes relevant for every occasion. Many times we pondered along with Kathleen Kelly, “Sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave?”

Once again, I find myself in a moment of reflection with Kathleen. I’ve entered into the last phase of seminary and as I’m working on my thesis on making meaning in the midst of darkness, I’m wondering, what will it even look like to be brave in this process?

As if in answer to my question, writer, mother, teacher–and close personal cousin of mine–Catherine Alene wrote the following on her blog:

Do not rule anything out. 
Recovery has been nothing like I thought it would be. It has been more challenging and more fulfilling than I ever thought possible. I hope to celebrate many more recovery birthdays and will embrace the truths that each one brings . . . I am now a writer, a mother and a teacher, three things I would never have become had I remained sick.

Read Catherine’s full post on celebrating her recovery birthday (And you can buy her novel, The Sky Between You and Me, here).

Catherine is one of the bravest people I know. She routinely boldly and courageously shares herself for her own sake and for the sake of others–her daughter, her friends, complete strangers, and me.

“I can attempt to insulate myself from triggers,” she writes, “but they are everywhere. They come in the form of comments, photos, films and even songs. Rather than avoiding them, I now gather whatever support I can find and confront that trigger head on. If I don’t, it will surface again and again.”

I need to get back to work now, but I’ll keep Catherine’s book (and a few pencils) close by to remind me that I’m trying this because I like it–and I can do it because I’m brave.


1 Comments on “Have I been Brave?”

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