I've been thinking a bit about my previous blog post, Answering the Call to Courage. I honestly asked myself why I felt compelled to write it, tempted to pull it from the internet, telling myself that no one cares what my thoughts are on Brené Brown's genius.
Do you do that?
Start something that may be a breakthrough for you and then compare yourself to the person who inspired you, or to all the awesomeness that people have created and slapped over every social media platform you see? No? Just me?
Well, I tend to think I'm not alone in this habit I've let come over me sometimes. Instead of erasing any trace of my writings from the world wide web, I decided to lean into the thoughts a bit more.
What does answering that call mean?
What does courage look like?
I think it's different for us all. And you might not even know what it is in your life. I'm finding that to be true on my own.
What do you do when you don't even know what you want?
If you're looking for a good conversation about it, I listen to the Shine Strong podcast for women who talk about how to walk through those phases of life. The courage, though, may just be in admitting that we don't have it all figured out and that people and things constantly change. Not all of us are on a mega-batching empire-building frenzy. We might not be wired that way. We're on a journey of discovery and have yet to accomplish picture-perfection.
And I don't think that not having it all figured out should keep us from showing up in the arena. Whatever it is that you're pursuing or exploring, I hope you let someone see you. Sing your song to a loved one. Write a poem in a text. Send your idea for a podcast to your girlfriend. Start a blog. Send in your article.
I was recently on a plane sitting next to a girl who I had greeted briefly when she took her seat, but for much of the flight hadn't interacted with. I got my computer out since it was a four-hour trek from the west coast and kept my focus on work–either reading or writing. At one point, I took my headphones out, reached for some water, and let my work go. As I did, she leaned over with a grin and enchanting golden eyes.
"Did you write that?" she asked, pointing to the screen I was reading from.
"Oh, no. Not this, I'm just reading."
What I was thinking was, "Are you kidding? This work is genius. I could never do that!" But I didn't say it.
"But you're a writer?"
I smiled. It's been a little more than a year since I have felt comfortable describing myself as such. "Yes," I replied.
"That's wonderful. What have you written?"
I explained that I have two novels, am trying desperately to meet a deadline on the third, but am feeling more inspired to write non-fiction these days.
We chatted a bit more as I became completely enthralled with the girl on the plane. She was from Istanbul, and one of my favorite characters in my novels is an intriguing girl from Turkey. She wanted to hear more about my visits and love affair with her homeland, and I, of course, wanted to hear more about her.
At one point, she got up to use the "lav" as she called it (I mean, if you don't love a good European accent and verbiage, we can't be friends) and I grabbed my phone. I felt an impulse to jot a few words down about the charming girl on my flight. I quickly typed a poem and started to put my phone away as she returned.
"You don't have to sit and chat, you can go back to your work if you want."
"My work will be there when the flight's over, but you will not. I'll just enjoy the time that we have." I told her. And a lovely flight we had.
When the airplane landed, we said our goodbyes, agreeing to follow each other on social media.
A few weeks passed when we connected again through Instagram. In my DMs was a simple picture of her holding my two published books in her hand. My heart was overwhelmed. I had leaned into a special moment on a plane, and we had both truly seen each other.
It was then I knew that the poem I penned was not for my enjoyment, it was a gift for her. I tried to talk myself out of it. I may have even felt like I needed to explain away the weirdness, but I sent her a message.
"When you stepped away, I wrote you this poem. I think it belongs to you and not me." I replied in the DMs.
And I sent her words that, hopefully, she will cherish knowing that she touched my life.
But it's made me realize that in my day-to-day encounters with my real life, the arena many times seems far too tangible. The enchanting girl on the plane will likely never see me again. But my everyday life?
Moments become too ordinary to notice the extraordinary, or too strange to think that we have to face the person again tomorrow, so I let the gifts get buried beneath the surface of my daily duties.
But not after the call.
We've been called to courage.