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courage = trust + fear

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

Reader Comments (12)

Maybe the reason you're not feeling ready is that there's comfort in the routine-you know what to expect when she's on the medication. What the doctors are asking you to do is the equivilant of diving out of an airplane. The idea of free falling is terrifying and even if you know intellectually that you're wearing a parachute, it's difficult to trust that it will open and everything will end up being okay. I think it's perfectly normal to feel scared right now. The thing is, all the people who know you and love you and Jon and EJ are your parachute. We have your back, no matter what.

August 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLelainia Lloyd

What a powerful post - your words resonate. I'm sending prayers that your daughter goes off her medication and thrives!

August 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSherri B.

Oh Liz, you are a master with words. Your writing is beautiful and it speaks to me so deeply. Thank you!

August 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

faith and courage and all the colours that her laughter and dancing connote and convey----my hand is in your hand.

August 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterelizn

Blessings to you all as you face this fear. I know it is hard to step into trust of someone else and place in their hands the person most precious to you. Prayers and trusting that your daughter will move seamlessly to life thriving without her medication.

August 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterL. McG.-E.

Beautiful post, I appreciate how raw and honest you are in your writing. Adore the last pic on here to beautiful way to close the post. And adore the words.. "a life punctuated with yes!"
Sending healing thoughts to you all.

August 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Such a beautiful and powerful post, Liz. Sending you and your daughter positive energy + prayers for courage and deep joy.

August 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

until i became a mother, i never stood under this umbrella of fear + trust + faith ... i never understood the strength of my love ... love does make us brave (thank you Jen Lee) and none are braver than mothers. in my humble opinion. sitting here, nodding my head and feeling a sympathetic twinge in my wisdom muscle for you and for your girl who is demonstrating how truly resilient and powerful the heart can be. xo

August 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLis

wow, wow, wow! what a powerful post. i can relate in so many ways but b/c i'm not a mother, i can only imagine the kind of trust you must have. your mom is a wise & supportive person. and you are to EJ; you can feel the love being passed down. it's a leap of faith. a leap i will never take but am here for you, cheering you on & trusting. lots of love, alane

August 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralane

I just love you,dear. Thank you for sharing your life with me.

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda

You and your daughter are in my prayers.

August 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

You are brave. I am thinking of all of you.

August 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

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