Sunday, 12 May 2013

On Bravery

A man leaps into a burning car to save the life of the woman inside.

A teenage girl dies saving her six year old brother from drowning by jumping into an icy river.

A father of two daughters risks his life to rescue an elderly gentleman who falls in front of a train during a seizure.

Brave. The word has some great glory about it, and speaks of honour and grandeur and presence of mind. It is a beautiful word. When I hear it in conversation, I am immediately attentive, my eyes widen, and my mind imagines as hard as it possibly can what it would be like to be there, to see that need, to act with so much courage...and then I wonder.

Am I brave?

I was pondering this confronting, gorgeous question on a sunswept Wednesday afternoon last week, and I came to a conclusion.

I don't think that on my own I'm that brave at all.

I thought I was. Or rather, I thought I would be if the situation arose.

Of course I would be, wouldn't I? I would be brave if I was in that position, but I have not been in that position yet, and probably never will be. I would be brave, if only circumstance would bring it to light.


Circumstance has brought it to light, and I have lost so many opportunities because I have not realised it sooner. I don't need a burning car, a freezing river, or an oncoming train to be brave.

I have always thought that bravery meant striving for an ultimate, human bigness. It doesn't. Bravery is not about seeking honour, but honouring someone else. It may not require sacrificing your life, but it will often require sacrificing your pride. It is not about appearing to do the right thing, it is about actually doing the right thing, whatever the consequences. It is about living fully. It is about hoping, when every part of your heart tells you to despair; giving $10 to the homeless man you just walked past; being happy to be you, when everyone is telling you to be someone else; hanging out the washing when your mum asks you to, despite wanting to scream, "NO!". It is about loving, even when they don't love you back.

That is brave. And every moment that goes by where we reject an opportunity to help someone, act with integrity, speak the truth, be who we were meant to be, or do what God tells us to do, we are missing, losing the brave moment that could have been ours.

On my own, I am not brave. Not in the slightest. But I have a hope. A hope in Jesus. And 'Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.'
(2 Corinthians 3:12)

And we start with the little things.




Anonymous said...

Wow. This is such an amazing post! Thank you

Lauren said...

You are an incredible writer and thinker, I've been moved, convicted and inspired.

Holly said...

You so encourage me...and make me think. Half the things I ponder, I wouldn't if it wasn't for you!
Thank God for bringing you into my life :)

Laura said...

Thank you Imogen! That was most inspiring and thought-provking, you are an incredible writer! :)

Naomi Klaz said...

I love you and your blog! I want to read more! You have such a gift of writing.

Briony said...

you know, the other day I read this quote:

"Paint the flying spirit of a bird, rather then it's feathers."
-Robert Henri

It made me think of you. You have a flying spirit and when you see beauty you draw it from the inside out.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful... That's all I can say!!