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courage = trust + fear

liz lamoreux

trust this wisdom.

I’ve been thinking about words this week. I suppose this is because in Poem It Out, we are gathering lots of words to add to our creative toolbox to help us when we face the blank page. And there is nothing quite like a long list of gathered words to inspire some poetry. And then there are the words I hammer into metal, so those words, in the form of soul mantras, are often on my mind.

This week, as I gathered up an "I am Brave" locket to send out into the world, I started thinking about a conversation I had with a friend last month. She asked me to define brave. Because we were texting, I was pushed to get to the point, so I wrote:

Brave = faith + trust
Brave = holding hands with fear

I started tearing up after I pressed "send" because it felt like I had been waiting for those words for a long time, as though I needed permission to admit that I know being brave, standing tall in your courage, means standing side-by-side with fear and trusting anyway. It isn't about leaving fear behind. It is about knowing it is there and still choosing trust.

As I write this, I am sitting on my red couch in the middle of my little home while everyone is still asleep and the house has cooled off just enough to feel comfortable. And as I sit here, I literally feel as though I am sandwiched between “fear” and “trust,” and I'm wearing a t-shirt that says "courage" as I admit to myself that they wlll be house guests for a very long time. 

This week, we have been lowering the doses of Ellie’s medication and tomorrow she will have her last dose (at least for now). This is the medication she has been on three times a day for more than two years. The medication that regulates her heart rhythm. The medication that saved her life. The medication that has really driven the train that is our family’s daily world.

This is really good news.

This means that we are at the point where we think it is very possible that she has outgrown both of her heart rhythm “issues” and won’t need to be on the medication any more. 

The only way we can know this is to take her off of the medication and wait to see what happens.

Twice so far I’ve almost called her cardiologist to say, “I’m not ready.”

But of course, it isn’t about me. It isn’t about how ready I am. It is about a little girl. It is about letting go of knowing. It is about trust.

For several months we've been in a holding pattern with her weight. Wanting her to get bigger to literally grow out of this arrhythmia; speculating she isn’t getting much bigger because the medication affects her appetite. So this is the next step.

And we wait.

And while we wait, she just keeps teaching us as she dances and runs ahead of us and lives a life punctuated with yes.

And I tuck trust and fear into my pocket and take a breath and exhale a forcefield of courage around all of us.

EJ washington coast