Dividing lines. Walls. Fences and lines drawn in the sand. Belief systems that cancel Thanksgiving plans and delete Facebook friends. Heated conversations, tweets, newscasters and even preachers fighting it out.
This world beginning to fracture like my son's broken collarbone. A painful and hard to see break, but it is there underneath the surface. This isn't just the politics or the election, but it is also the church.
And it has made me boiling mad. Female voices that I admire and respect saying things I vehemently disagree with. A female author standing on the stage at my church spouting off theology that sounds like it was mixed together on a school playground. I read the Facebook posts and have opinions. I listen to her speak and have opinions. I watch the news and have opinions.
Right and wrong. Left and Right. He said and she said.
But, I won't put my opinion out there like she did. No way. I won't tell you what I feel, because I see what happens. I see how they are roasted on the stake like the days of the Salem witch trials!
Until it cuts me deep and personal.
A childhood friend begins the banter on text message and we harm and hurt each other with our words. We can't see each other's eyes. We can't hear each other's tone.
And we retreat to our own corners with steam coming out of our noses.
Instead of running from each other, which both of us proclaim we plan to do with childlike wining to our husbands, "I am not going to meet with her. Forget it. I give up."
But we don't. We sit for hours, eyeball to eyeball full of love listening to each other's opinions, thoughts, and ideas.
And I realize something that I hadn't seen before, hadn't seen when I was caught up in my own right and wrong.
That there is bravery all around me. Such beautiful and spectacular bravery!
That this book, Brave Is The New Beautiful - Courage To Be The Real You which releases in March, might have been a message that I simply wrote to myself.
The bravery, and more specifically the bravery in women right now, is something to be in awe of. The woman who spoke at my church, what if that was her brave?
To stand up and say what SHE believes to be true and to fight the patriarchal nature she has seen in the church and combat it as a woman. I don’t have to agree with her brave, but I sure can see it in her and be in awe of it!
My friend, my dear friend who I have known for thirty years, her brave is to look me in the eye, me who she knows of my faith that she doesn't believe in God. Not an easy conversation to have, but wasn’t she being brave?
And how about the women who are fighting for the rights they believe to be true. Aren't they being brave?
Look. I am not saying we get all pollyannaish and pink-cloudish about right and wrong. I believe there is Truth. But, I also know we are ALL hurting. We are all broken, trying to make our way through this very messy thing we call life. And sitting with my sweet friend, looking her in the eye, I was in awe of her bravery.
My lens changed. My judgement shield disintegrated and instead I see her, and love her.
We never agreed and might never agree, but that doesn't mean I still can't love her, celebrate her and cheer her on for her courage. And she does the same for me. Oh what a gift.
My hope and my desire is that we can turn the alarms off and gather together as women, celebrating each other's bravery. Because in the moment of bravery, of doing what you think is right, saying what you believe to be true, your knees are shaking and your gut is churning.
Because in the moment bravery never feels like a massage or a relaxing tropical vacation.
It is gritty and hard and scary. So before you argue right and wrong and before you delete her off Facebook or gripe to your friends about her views, celebrate her bravery. Look at the way she is showing courage. Think about her shaky knees and sweating hands and say, "You go girl! Maybe I don't agree with what you are doing...but You go girl!"
Everyone has a different brave.
For some it is simply getting out of bed each day when the depression washes over, for others it is asking for help, and for some it is fighting for one's beliefs.
Let us stop for a bit, take a step back, and encourage each other to DO BRAVE.
Your brave is different from mine, but I encourage you to dig deep and find it. You won't regret it.
I can't wait for you all to read this book, Brave is the New Beautiful. Because in it are stories of women, women just like you and just like me, who wrestled bravery to fight for their own lives. To fight for the lives God has given them. To sometimes find courage in the depths of the valley or at the top of the mountain. I hope their stories (even if you don't agree with their choices) will also encourage you to find your brave. Because if you look at it closely, it is so so beautiful!
Go forth brave and beautiful women! And let us cheer one another on in the process. #dobrave