About a month ago, I listened to a podcast interview with Alastair Humphreys, adventurer extraordinaire. In the closing moments, he uttered a phrase that has held me absolutely captivated:
“I’m obsessed with the idea of trying to make myself brave enough to begin things.”
I cannot tell you how often I’ve been turning that over (and over, and over) in my mind this last month or so.
There are dreams that have lain silent in my heart for some time. Dreams I thought long dead are making rumblings again, like a dormant volcano reminding the environment not to get too settled.
Eight years ago, I did a gap year that changed my life. I got to spend twelve months telling stories about the devastation poverty causes, and walking alongside people to show them how they could bring change into those situations. One of the great privileges of that year was the friendships I made.
One of those women, Jen, has played the role of confidant, encourager and mischief-maker in my life since then. Over the last few years her job has taken her to places well off the beaten track, and she’s discovered that her unique gifts line up perfectly with a job we could never have imagined of as kids – the kind that seems so tailor made you’d think we dreamt it up.
It has brought me great joy to see her discover that what she has to offer is not only enough, it is essential.
She was brave enough to begin, and she makes me braver by her inspiration.
Bravery is a strange word. Just the mention of it conjures up images of warriors and windswept landscapes. I am more interested, though, in the silent, unseen kind of bravery. The kind that of bravery that notices a change in a friend and points it out in love. The kind that sees an opportunity and doesn’t shrink back from it, even if it might unbalance the scales. I want to be more like that kind of person; to have the kind of bravery Jen exhibits. I want to be brave enough to begin.