here and there and HOME again: thoughts on courage

June 16, 2010 Candace Morris 10 Comments

One week ago, three beautiful females loaded up a life and set out on the open road.  We have friends and family all along the route from San Diego to Seattle, so we were able to break up the trip and enjoy some much needed visits with our kin.

I sit here at my antique desk, an emerald green and chartreuse hummingbird just perched himself on the cherry tree sapling.  It's gray and cozy.  My Sulawesi swirls black and rich in my basic white mug.  My skin reaches out to feel the luxury of my pashmina.  The permanence of finally being back in my home with no prospect of having to live elsewhere ever again fills my soul and gushes in excess through my tear holes.  As the sights and sounds of this place remind me that I am a strong, rooted willow, I think upon one word.

||  courage  ||

It cannot be coincidental that courage finds its way into my thoughts so soon after I've spent the last few months swimming in the theme of suffering.  I notice their intrinsic connection.  

I have stood in awe as my dearest blood took the greatest blow to the heart one can endure.  I watched her shoulder her new friend anger with grace.  I marveled at her ability to wake up every day when it would have been vastly easier to sleep away the next year.  I watched her open herself to rebirth and ask for help.  On top of all of this, she made the physical move to an entirely new life.  A life she always imagined, but one that is not yet (and won't be for some time) realized.  She embraced faith where she could have acquiesced to fear. 

I have watched one of my best friends move from our shared daily life. Then, a week before she moves 800 miles away, she is diagnosed with breast cancer at age 29.  My pain at not being around her during this time aside, I have marveled been absolutely flabbergasted by her courage.  Her courage does not stop at facing the threat of mortality younger than expected, but it extends to her desire to push through this stage and grab all the richness it has to offer.  That it will inform her art, I have no doubt.  That she has decided for it to inform her soul, I am deeply inspired.  

Two women who have decided to throw on a life-vest and ride this white-water rapid of suffering that life dealt them.  As if that weren't enough, the river leads them to a blind waterfall...they have no idea how high it is, how powerful it is, or how deep the pool runs below the surface.  They muster up their courage...they jump.  

As they jump, I freeze time and look inward.
Would I have what it takes to jump with such courage?

I suppose I have no way of knowing unless I were asked to jump.
But I do know that a paddle has been offered to me:
A choice to climb into that precarious raft alongside them, 
A request for help.

And somewhere I find the courage inside to row with all my might.
Because we are all connected.
And courage cannot be mustered alone.


post script: many, MANY more pictures of the road trip to come.

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