I’m not nearly as strong as you. I can’t leave.
Oh darling. My sweet, wonderful, intensely brave darling. Sit down with me here, cross legged, face to face. Take a deep breath. I want to lift your chin and look deep into your eyes and tell you some things.
It is not the leaving that makes you strong. Endings do not mark you as brave. Courage does not only lie in being the one who initiates destruction.
Yes, all of those things require strength. And oh, if you have ever been the one to leave, or end or destruct, I want to cradle you in my arms and tell you I know your pain. But the other choices- when the only thing to mark the difference between before and after is your own quiet resolve – those also require strength beyond comprehension.
We are all on a path. Day by day we decide if we’ll follow that path, or forage a new one. Sometimes the choices are not clear, and everything seems twisted and painful. But moment by moment we choose, because we have to. That’s how life goes. The big bold stuff gets the attention. The tearing down, the crashing and banging and wailing and starting anew. And we all say ‘Isn’t she brave? Isn’t she strong? Isn’t she courageous?’
And she is. Of course she is. But you are too.
Oh how strong and brave and courageous you are.
Sometimes stillness takes far more strength than movement. There are times when choosing to stay requires a level of fierce tenacity you wouldn’t need if you decided to leave. Boldness does not always declare itself to the world and demand attention, but rather lives steady and small in the spaces we choose to continue inhabiting, even though we are called elsewhere.
There is no shame, no lack of strength inherent in your decision. To rebuild instead of tearing down. To recognize that perfection is not always found in novelty, and that all the answers lie within, not without. To know that what you have is precious, and to not be willing to risk it. To look it all in the eye and say “I choose this. Not what might be, but what I have now”. This is nothing to ever be ashamed of. It is not the lesser choice.
It is not weak. It is not cowardly. It is not less authentic. No less worthy of respect and admiration than my choice, or her choice or their choices. We often measure our choices with words like good and bad, right and wrong, strong and weak. And they are all of those things, and none of those things. They just are.
No matter which road we choose, it will always require a profound and audacious level of guts. It will be a testament to our spirit and our faith, and it will push us to our edges and pull us to our center. It will be the embodiment of love and heart and soul and inspiring commitment. And it will be brave, and strong and true.
Because living is courageous. Every single moment of it.