Making My Own Definition

So the other night I am sitting and watching the Grammy's. As I sit and watch the Grammy's,  I realize that I am sitting the same way I always sit wonder while watching them,' why am I watching the Grammy's?' They annoy me. I don't know, Taylor Swift flipping her head back and forth. Is this necessary? I wasn't really sure why Madonna and Queen Latifah needed to be part of the marital ceremony performed by Macklemore. I thought maybe Ellen should have married all these people, if someone was going to do it, she spurred on this song. I mean Queen Latifah? But they didn't ask my opinion prior. I get the statement it was making and fully support it, I just wasn't sure that I would get married in an aisle at the Grammy's, with Madonna holding a cane, and who picked that song? Really what was with her cane? And really I am not sure why Beyonce had to get her hair wet. It was confusing. And can she please stop wearing leotards? It's also annoying. It is not a Broadway Tap Dancing Revival...all.the.time. Can she switch it up? I think she can afford an entire ensemble. She is not a cast member of Cats. And every time I see Willie Nelson's braids my impulsiveness sets in, and all I want to do is take a pair of scissors and clip them right of. Thank goodness Willie and I will never ever be in the same place, at the same time.

And then came on Carole King and Sara Bareilles. I love Carole King. Her music and voice are comforting, mature, and just wise. I have always enjoyed the laid back Lilith Fair type style of music once in awhile. You know hair flowing freely, long skirts, no make up, flower crowns, bare feet. Take out your Indigo Girls, you know you want to. Anyway, I just sat silently listening to these women on this past Sunday evening, and the lyrics of the song they were singing, their talents coming through the  musical instruments that they also were playing. They didn't need anything more, no crazy sets or small attire, and it was so good. It was music.

I have obviously heard Sara's song, 'Be Brave,' before. It is on quite frequently...like all songs played on the radio.Can they say overkill?  But this was the first time I sat and listened to the words. They were sung slowly and deliberately by these two women and I heard it.

The word, 'brave,' is a noun, a verb, and an adjective. You're welcome. I am certain you feel really enlightened presently...smarter...ready to take the SAT's again. I will do you one greater and tell you the definition too. Now stop, no need to thank me. So when describing something brave...you would be describing something ready to face danger; endure danger or pain, you are showing courage. You can just be, 'the brave.' A person who demonstrates courage or a fighting spirit. Name your kid Brave, set the bar really high. 'A spider!?!?! You're cowering in the corner over a spider...live out your name kid...I didn't bestow upon you pussy footing!!!!' Or you can actually be showing bravery...actively enduring pain without showing any fear.

Many of us probably think that being brave is saved for those who demonstrate great acts of valor. We cannot possibly be equal to those many deem as brave. We can show courage, but bravery? That's reserved for the  finest. You know, the fireman, a soldier, someone risking their lives for others. All great acts of courage and bravery, obviously. But allowing your actions to be considered brave, it seems like a challenge in comparison, right?

I, however, listened to the words in Sara's song and listened to Carole's awesome voice and considered those in my life that I consider brave. Those that I guarantee do not consider their actions worth being described as brave. When in fact they are.

I have a friend I am very humbled by. Her life is a story still being written and her depth is still unknown. When I think I do not have enough strength I am reminded and inspired her. This woman lost her husband by a senseless act of violence committed by a family member. In an instant she became a single mother, a widow, not given the chance to say goodbye to the man she loved and grew strength from. And she  endures. Her spirit endures. She has such a fighting spirit. She is a refuge for her kids and others kids...and sometimes even me. She is brave.

I have a friend who lost her mom to cancer over ten years ago. I vividly remember seeing her on the day her mom passed and actually seeing strength in her. It radiated from her. Lots of people lose a parent. This is something to me, I cannot fathom. The unfairness of losing a parent too soon is enough to make me weep, for anyone. This is incredibly hard. This friend of mine went on. I mean what else are you supposed to do? I am sure there were crippling times. I am sure she is stricken with overwhelming grief once in awhile. But she endures the pain. I reunited with her this week over dinner and her strength still radiates from her. Her mom's spirit in her. She is brave.

I know a woman who lost her son. She is obviously more then a friend to me, she is a mentor, and always has been since I was a stupid teenage girl. She lost her son over ten years ago as well. Her son and her son's fiance, killed by another driver, driving at them full force under the influence. A tragic loss. The grief was and still is unbearable. I can remember going to their home in the days after their deaths and the cloud of heaviness that silenced all of us in there. A man willingly operated a vehicle, clearly under the influence and stole something from her and the rest of her family; my friends. The anger that raged. Yet, this woman, she forgave this man. She showed him mercy. She showed him grace. She let him know what he had taken from her and her family and friends, but she faced danger and pain and forgave him. There is no forgetting her son. I enter her home today and he is everywhere, as he should be. It is like he is there subtly, but he isn't. But the story that radiates outside of his loss, is her bravery. Her demonstration of ultimate kindness and our ultimate purpose...mercy. Don't ever let me hear you cannot forgive someone for something less then this. She is brave.

My daughter. She came home in tears quite a few times last school year in tears over older girls who were teasing and bullying her on the bus. My heart broke for her. The meanness of other people becoming a harsh reality for her. I encouraged her. I encouraged her spirit and I encouraged her to face this pain. She was aware of what bullying was and she turned around one morning and faced the unfairness, on her own.  Marching herself into school and notifying who she was supposed to. Sitting down with the girls who were bullying her and an adult, and telling them how it made her feel. I am not saying that this is the answer for all types of bullying, but this empowered my girl. She now continually stands up for those being bullied, her heart on her sleeve. She is brave.

I can tell you stories all day long of those I find brave and why they are this way. I feel its something we shouldn't diminish. Recognize it and gain strength from it. Bravery is honorable, and bravery is inspiring.

In recent times I have adapted the mindset to look at things like this; would I allow what is happening to me happen to my daughter without her acknowledging it and stopping it? Or would I allow my sons to treat another like this? If my answer is no, it is time to face it. Is this bravery? Is this bravery to stand up for what I think is right? Is it brave to expect to be treated a certain way and standing up and opening my mouth when it isn't? Is it brave to voice my pain and experiences wanting to empower others?

I listen to the lyrics...she is encouraging us to say whatever it is we want to say, to let the words fall out. I think about the personal stories of bravery that I only just listed here and can see how beneficial it has been for me for these women to have let their words fall out. Their bravery has been their strength and mine, and whoever else have heard their stories...even my sweet Kendall's.

She then sings, 'Honestly, I want to see you be brave.'

I hear sarcasm, you might not, but what I hear is like, alright already, enough is enough, stop being broken, stop being depressed, stop letting the past weigh you down...show me that you can be brave.

And this is part of the new turn in me. Each person that is brave has let go. They have faced pain and or danger head on and declared it unwelcome in their mind. They have said goodbye to things that have crippled them in their past and turned these things into their courage to move forward. They have forgiven and accepted and allowed love and compassion win. Bravery allows your spirit to come out.

I am finally getting to brave.

"Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is."

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