I did three brave things this week. On the surface, they were nothing, minuscule, unworthy of note. But for me, inside my routined and nearly rigid life, these were big things. Brave things. I stepped outside of my initial instict, the moment of "no-thanks-can't-go-probably-busy-umm-my-toenails-need-emergency-attention". I went beyond my wants and jumped into the unknown territory of my needs.
First, I went out with some girlfriends. I went OUT. I met them in PUBLIC. I hemmed and hawed before I stepped out the door, I turned around once on my way there, and I dialed and hung up the phone twice to make a lame excuse so as to return to my cocoon. But I made it there and you know what? I had a good time. I laughed, I talked, I listened and sipped coffee and talked about my kids. (Note to self: next time come prepared with non-kid topics!)
The next thing took an ever larger effort of propulsion, mostly because it involved a long-term commitment as well as spending time with people who walked with me every step of the way this summer. I joined the choir at church. I almost, again, didn't go. My mom came to babysit and as I drove out, I very nearly turned in at the local Starbucks to have a chai and sit for an hour. But again, two days in a row, I made myself go somewhere that I had no initial desire to be. When I first walked in and saw Melanie, the pastor's wife, choir leader, and my friend, my eyes filmed over with tears. She was just so happy to see me.
The second level of this bravery, of course, is that I actually sang in the choir. With my voice. And, you know, notes and pitch and stuff. Everyone was very kind and one lady said that I'd be fine after a few practices. Ha! I simply haven't so much as hummed along, much less raised my voice in song, in a long time. Suffice it to say I am very, very rusty. Oh, well. There's always lip-syncing. The more important part, the scary part, was just returning to a community with a promise to stay involved.
The third brave thing came on a more literal and understandable level. There was this bear, you see. And I neither screamed nor jumped up and down or had lady-like vapors. I just cursed at my husband and backed away. Slowly.
We were on one of our evening walks up through the neighborhood when some people came running out of their house, yelling in stage-whispers for us to STOP and COME INSIDE and NOT GO THAT WAY. BEAR!
"Huh?", we replied.
And, indeed, there was a bear. A big, ambling brown bear, making it's way from behind a parked car and crossing the street about 15 feet from where we stood with the kids. The bear looked at us, I kid you not, and my husband, (OH MY GOD), grinned back at it, overjoyed at his exciting proximity to said wild animal.
"Hey, girls, Look! A bear!"
I had already started backing away, while murmuring vile threats under my breath at the man standing there like a rodeo clown. The bear stopped in the middle of the street to check us out. Kurt, with my children, stood for about 30 seconds, or six hours, before finally pulling the stroller back down the street. You know, away from the BEAR. Sheesh. It was of course not very interested in us, as we had no berries jars of honey, and headed off in the other direction.
So, see? I am brave! I have faced a book club, a church choir and a bear! All in one week, no less. That makes me practically Beowulf, really.