Friday, October 31, 2008


Another odd, random thought this morning, whilst coming into work.

I was pulling onto the lot and was struck by one of the female security guards guiding traffic into the garage. When I say struck I mean I noticed her, not that she beat me. She was rubbing her hands, as it is a bit cold, and was doing her job with a fairly stoic expression. She's someone I've seen in the building and it's very clear she has a Story. Thinking of all of this in a second or two, the next thought I had was interesting: "I like brave people."

Granted, doing one's job outside in the simply frigid conditions of 60 degrees may not seem the bravest thing, but it was her expression more than anything that I noticed. Then as I was parking I tried to get more specific about my thinking. Those who know me well know that nothing enrages me more than vagaries, except perhaps answering a question with a question, which will always result in me going for the throat. So then my next thought was a question - what, exactly, do I think is brave?

I guess it's a few things. One version of it is the person who "jumps", i.e. they see what they want (or doesn't want) and decides they are going to take the leap to change the situation. Whatever the personal cost, discomfort or sacrifice. It can take the form of the cross-country move, the mid-life career re-set, the ejection from the bad marriage, the coming out of the closet, etc. Or it can just doing something as simple as going to a bookstore on a rainy afternoon if you are wildly agoraphobic. I guess it's the kind of bravery where you allow your anxiety to exist, but not dominate you.

The other version I have seen is the more resting kind of brave. It's the mode where you know you are in a situation you can't change, for whatever external or internal reasons, and you make due in the best way you can, and put on the proverbial "brave face". It's tough, but it's not the fear or desperation-fueled bravery of the other kind. This kind is sort of methodology of life that makes people stay out of duty, or expectation, and involves (sometimes total) sacrifice of personal needs for the sake of the group, or just one loved one. It's not easy either. More of a stick-it-out thing. The rock that sits square in the middle of the roaring river.

I think I've lived in both states in different periods of time in my life. But I also know that at some point you have to weigh the pros vs. the cons in an unsentimental light, and perhaps see a third way. And that is the way of simply letting go, and trusting that it will all work out. And it's scary as all Hell.

But you can always rub your hands to keep them warm when you need to. No one can tell you not to do that.


Blogger Anne said...

I think I will forever save this entry. it speaks to me and give me renewed strength to continue being the "rock in the raging river." Thank you.

5:39 PM  

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