Finding the courage to be authentic

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A picture of my as of yet unborn daughter

A word of caution to the reader. This post may seem largely disjointed. It is likely due to the fact that I am writing this as I think and ponder current circumstance. In an effort to ensure the process is aptly captured, I will not go back through to make it pretty. My mind is not a pretty place but it is my mind and the place which I call home.

I approach the day with hesitation. My eyes open slowly. The room blurry from a night of terrored visions dancing through my mind. There is a moment, in those first moments, where I wonder if facing the visions would be better than facing the man in the mirror I’ll pass in a moment. When I finally muster the courage to rise, I walk. Looking in the mirror, I see nothing. Simply more lines on my face, grey in the hair that’s left, and emptiness beginning to fill my dimming eyes.

In my opinion, as a man. A father. A husband. My role is protector. The strength of my family is dependent on my strength. I feed the roots of our tribal tree. On days like these, the clouds obscure the sun. The trees are bony hands stripped of their skin reaching to the heavens for a savior to pull them to safety. And…my strength is waning. There are moments, situations, events which are uncontrollable. Moments, even if an instant, where we will be crushed by our own unique inability that we bring to all we do. And in those moments, in that place I am a man alone.

Perhaps there is more to this, a secret thread that binds us all. And we leave this thread unspoken, untouched left to bear the burden together, alone.

“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

The most difficult words to say are not “I love you” nor “I am sorry”. Rather they are to say, “I am in pain/afraid”

In these times, we must muster courage. Courage to push past and endure the pain and the fear. Courage to share. Courage is not reckless abandonment of the pain. Rather it is enduring the pain with confidence. Confidence that all things are temporal. This is the call of the vow we made to our wives both success and failure, sickness or health, rich or poor; surely even life and death, all pass on to the next with or without us. We would do well to embrace “with”. I do believe that there is benefit in the heart of battle, in the deepest of the valley. For it is here that courage is formed and strengthened.

Attaining strength and courage rests on our ability to take on risks and break free from weariness and contentment. At times it can feel as if the ground beneath us has given way. We are left to fall through the very earth itself into the dregs which lay beneath. How to begin? Oh the great word how.

I suppose it starts in the small. When we identify fear and pain, call it by name, acknowledge it’s presence and admit its existence. Perhaps this acknowledgement will breed a certain humility and draw us closer together. In doing so, that common thread which we all share, will become a thread which will bind us together and from which we can draw strength when it is needed most.

And conceivably, this post is my own small start.

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