Am I brave?
Where is my center?
The one thing that matters
Above all else
What is truth?
Not what I see with my eyes
But enact in my life
I want to be brave again
Yesterday’s bravery looks on
With bated breath
Was it for real or not?
I’ve prepared for this moment
Without a map
Now I’m a grown-up
Battle-worn and wondering
Can I do this again?
I don’t generally think of myself as a brave woman. Determined? Yes. But not brave.
My life has been a series of interruptions by men. Some were accustomed to taking over and talking over others. They seemed to be the truly brave players on the scene. People like my father, my first boss, some male pastors with whom I’ve worked, male teachers and professors, male board members, presidents, vice-presidents and colleagues. Sometimes male students.
They seemed to sound ‘brave,’ if not always wise. At best I might have called myself ‘disciplined.’ But even that sounds weak. Especially now, in a world reeling from a dearth of true bravery. The kind that moves ahead without knowing how this is going to end. Without hanging onto ‘power over’ other people. Without the need to prove something personally, or make sure this turns out right.
Most Christian churches with majority white members are likely in need of brave leaders. I’m not an official church leader. I’m a retired theologian. Nonetheless, it’s time to step up. Time to become brave yet again. This time without apology or fear of what people may think about me.
There’s too much at stake to put my trust in niceness, or even in making sure I’ve gotten every word in the right place, spoken or written in the right way, at the right time.
I’ve begun reading Brenda Salter McNeil’s Becoming Brave: Finding the Courage to Pursue Racial Justice Now. I’ll say more about it in a later post. It’s a great read so far.
Thanks for visiting and reading. On another note, my poem, Haunted, has been published in a South Georgia newspaper. In addition, my primary care physician asked for it–to use in a small discussion group the practice has begun.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 17 October 2020
Image found at StarTribuneBaltimore.com