▪️WAITING

How long must I wait?

Last week I shared that after having thoroughly embraced that courage is hard to describe, seems to be subjective, and is a force unto its own, I’m confident in this…a waiting heart conceives courage. When I embarked on this journey to explore courage and all its attributes, early this year, I found myself unsettled by one thing. I had settled in and settled down on a list of attributes I had sourced from an article in Psychology Today. The author sites six different attributes that make courage what it is, and helps us define it with examples. Sure, this is not an exhaustive list, it is however the one that addresses my deep belief that courage is indeed a virtue. This is the courage I was chasing. The virtue.

Yet, with all my pondering and reflection these six attributes continued to fall short. There was something missing. Yet, I couldn’t put my finger on it until several weeks ago.

Late this spring as I leashed my terriers for their afternoon stroll down our street I spotted a little mess that had moved in and settled down in the crux of the flood lights that hang above my garage. Something about that little mess called my attention. I wasn’t aware of its meaning at first, it needed unfolding. The days turned to weeks and as I kept my eye on the little mess it began to teach me.

The first lesson was the significance of a number. I’m not proposing that I adopt numerology as a religion or science, but six attributes of courage, SIX, that’s just not a number worthy of courage. Now seven, that’s a good number if ever there was one.

Now, if there was a missing attribute from the list, what would that be?

Then one day, as I walked toward the little mess, gently rolling onto the tip of my toes just hoping to get a closer peak, it occurred to me.

Waiting. Waiting is the seventh attribute of courage.

Waiting, is what I saw in that little mess above my garage. In 5th grade I had the opportunity to select a short elective class to take as a reward for my good grades. I remember it fondly, my selection, a short course entitled “Bird Watching.” That’s how I knew it was a couple of Mourning Doves who occupied the little mess above my garage. They are accustomed to waiting. Mourning Doves are some of the most reproductive birds in North America which means, they wait a lot.

I thought long and hard about waiting in a mess and how that takes courage. The more I thought, the more I knew that this was a good lesson to learn. When we’re tethered to a mess, we must allow courage to be conceived, to come alive, to give way to hope. That’s what I spotted as I peaked into that little mess and stared those doves in the eyes, hope. When we are forced to wait and we watch a life we want to engage pass us by, knowing we cannot leave our little mess until the waiting is over, we must have the courage to hope. I knew that look, that look of waiting, and I reflected on some lessons I’ve learned during seasons of waiting.

Waiting, the seventh attribute of courage, not only makes the list complete, it also completes the cycle. It is the attribute that conceives all others, the origin. It is the beginning of courage and it lives deep in our hearts.

Next week I hope to share my first resource on waiting with you. Until, then my friend, be strong and courageous.

▪️PICK YOUR BATTLES

What if our realities collide?

You would think since we now live in the same neighborhood that we would be spending more time together, sadly it hasn’t turned out that way. Last week there were close encounters as we played tag via text, and another day as I was rounding the street to return home from my walk I caught a glimpse of her jogging the other way. Friend-ships in the night I guess. We finally accepted our lot and settled for a phone call while we tried to multitask some of our routine responsibilities.

We never quite get through our list of “life stuff to discuss with _______” I think we both keep a running mental account with one another’s names included.

We were gracious and allowed each other a fair share of the talk time to catch up and cover most of our agendas before she interjected “new business” to our meeting.

Question, have you ever felt like you had investigated something thoroughly and are ready to pull the trigger on the decision, only to discover, just after you were certain, “Houston, we have a problem?”

Well, that’s exactly where she found herself. This can be unnerving. How can we be so certain we are moving forward in the right direction only to realize that we’ve hit a headwind straight into a danger.

After she neatly unpacked all the details of her quandary, we began to analyze.

Of course we were both able to take our seats up in the clouds, as we pulled apart the situation attempting to see it all from God’s point of view, no judgement of course. I can honestly say that we were fair and kind, even though we did not agree with the actions that had transpired. However, there would still be danger ahead for my friend so I advised she launch some preemptive counter measures.

“Call her back” I said.

She had just given a verbal “yes” to a year long commitment. However, with this new information now in play she was dismayed. “It took courage for me to go in and tell her I would commit in the first place” she said, “now I have to call her and bring up these issues.” She knew she had to do it.

It takes courage to seek the truth.

Whether we like it or not, all of our perspectives are building toward a future reality. What if our realities collide? Some of us will like the new reality and some of us won’t. Seeking the truth of someone else’s perspective can help us know which battles are worth fighting.

I’m betting that if someone else’s perspective is going to impact my future reality, that I better fight for my perspective to be considered.

Isn’t that how most conflict occurs anyway – opposing perspectives?

She’s one of us. She’s full of courage. I have no doubt that the next pocket of time we have to debrief on life, I’ll get the rest of the story.

Maybe so will you.

Until then, be strong and courageous friends,