He is brave.
He is smart.
He is loved.
When he was small, the invisible and seen were jumbled together and everything screamed danger.
There have been many things to be afraid of.
When the world is loud and crowds you and it’s hard to tell up from down, in from out; terror doesn’t only stalk, it sidles up next to you and tries to claw its way into your back pocket.
Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you are scared. ~Eddie Rickenbacker~
He has always been the bravest one.
I’ve watched him square his shoulders more times than I can count.
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” ~Mary Anne Radmacher~
There have been many, many tomorrows. There are giants in the land.
Everyday courage takes everyday perseverance. To see the persistence, the faith walked out in small, careful steps has grown in me a deep and steady strength I never knew was possible.
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. ~C.S. Lewis~
To see him get up, try again, time after time is enough to produce a vision of what heroic truly means.
When he was four, he began to carry around a geography book. He loved that book, and studied it with unusual intensity. I thought, “Aha, geography is his thing.”
But then a couple of years later he found another passion and began to scribble mysterious equations in spiral bound notebooks, projecting orbits and other related things. Intense cat and mouse questions of the algebraic sort pursued him until he pulled at his hair. I told him he should chill, otherwise he’d end up with bad hair like Einstein and someone would put his bad hair day pictures on T-shirts and he probably wouldn’t get a dime out of it.
He laughed. That day he closed the book for a while and went outside.
In between forays into subjects that I remain a happy stranger to, he built things of legos and K’nex.
Physics became a big interest and he tried to explain physics jokes to me while we worked on harder things, like handwriting and tying his shoes. He asked for a molecular model kit and an astronomy text for his birthday.
And he ran the wrong way around the bases in gym class.
The journey was like riding a strange animal with tame strength that obligingly carried him at times, but was then inexplicitly contrary and fickle enough to turn, using its strong jaws to bite and crush. Knowing what a real education is has saved him from many a mauling by the sharpness of that particular beast. No falsely perceived lack has overshadowed his gifts. Uneven development is just that, and nothing else when you are free to live outside someone else’s harshly drawn back lines.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
I have a short story he gave me, a hard won battle we fought together. It was about a captain and saving a world from annihilation. When he brought me the words, I told him It was beautiful and I was moved, because the story was written in our language, his and mine, the language of Hope.
There came a long, long day when the sun moved across the blue much too fast.
Baby Girl wrote a song and stood, her bare toes hanging over the threshold of the back door. She sang into the tangled pine woods and into the whole cloudy world.
Come home, little lost boy,
Little lost boy, come home.
But he didn’t come, because he was too far away to hear her song.
There is a large, unfillable space, a hole of time that will never be redeemed, the hours my son was lost.
The shadows were creeping in when he emerged and was brought home to me. He sat in the kitchen while I fussed and washed his feet. I held out love and he reached for it with both arms, but he had no hands with which to grasp it strongly, to feel it in his own warm grip. I spoke to him of seeing the unseen, of the deep abiding knowing that comes with faith.
And he was brave enough to keep reaching, with hands that could not touch, to know that he was loved.
People try to put him in a box, but he doesn’t belong there. The times he cannot emerge on his own God sends a hand to help, to hold and lift. Hands of angels clothed in human form.
It is my prayer that he always remembers how to kick, kick, kick against that box until it is upended and its true function is revealed, the only one of any use. I tell him to stand up on that box and shout. Shout out with his loudest voice, even if the noise of the suffocating world seems to muffle the words.
The wise, the blessed, will hear and see.
He is brave,
He is smart,
He is loved.