Story, Value, and Becoming More Real
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Lend Me Some Courage

June 17, 2024

Lara d'Entremont

For offering each Sunday, we first cup our hands together and hold them up as our pastor prays over our giving. I close my eyes but often peek out of one to make sure my children are still nearby and haven’t climbed over the row of chairs in front of us. One Sunday, one of my boys tiptoed over to my knees. He leaned over them and wiggled his fingers between my hands so that his tiny one sat cupped in my upraised palms. 

God gave me a tangible picture of the cultivation—the turning of the dirt and the pulling out of deeply-rooted weeds—He was beginning in my heart. I have given these children to you, but they are Mine first.

This past year, I made the decision I never thought I’d be forced to make: to put my boys in public school despite years of dreaming, planning, and preparing for homeschooling. 

Yet it’s not just me needing courage and grace—my boys need it too. Loud noises, especially in crowded rooms with many busy children, make one of my sons cry and want to run. Another boy fears being without Mommy in eyesight. One is a runner, sometimes wandering into the woods or down the driveway. 

I remember the first time one of my boys had his feelings hurt by another child. He had taken the risk of asking to play, but the other boy waved a hand and shooed him away. As he wept in my lap, I wanted to hem him in from ever feeling such rejection again. I remember the wide eyes and wavering voice that whimpered for us to leave the room where giant balls and giant kids flew in every direction, and I wanted to rush him to a quiet room nestled in my embrace.

I can’t do that when they sit at a desk twenty minutes from me at school. 

What little courage I have, I wish to draw it out from me like a loose string, even if I unravel myself completely, and wind it around their hearts, hands, and toes.  

But courage isn’t like that, is it? Courage isn’t a thread I can tie around their fingers. It’s not a piece of me, like my clothes, that I can lend them. We learn courage, so I can only teach it to them as a mirror and a book. This doesn’t mean hiding our fears from one another, pulling a curtain over them as if they didn’t exist. We share our fears out loud, cuddled up against the kitchen cabinets or shedding tears in bed, and we clothe ourselves in whatever armor we require for the battle ahead. Courage is not an act I can do for them or somehow stand in their place to fulfill. They must make that step, take hold of courage for themselves. 

That reality took hold of me as I stood by one of my boys as he sought to climb on a fallen tree in the forest like his brothers had. His brothers leap from great heights, strive to touch the sky with their toes on the swing, and embrace the waves at the shore like a friend. This little one isn’t quite brave like that, but he wanted to climb out on that tree. He crawled between crooked branches, little chips of bark crumbling in his hair and clothes. Every few steps, he eased his head over his shoulder to find my eyes. I smiled and gripped the tree at the opposite end. “You can do it,” I whispered. He turned back around and kept weaving forward. 

He made it as far as his brothers had, but then he knew it was time to come back. As he ducked under branches, little mumbles of “M-M-M-ommy” came from him. I asked if he needed my help, but he inhaled and said no. Finally, he reached the uprooted bottom of the tree and jumped into my arms. As I squeezed him to my chest, I whispered in his curls, “You are so courageous.”

I cannot lend him my courage, but I can stand ready to remind him how.

We walked back to the house together, perhaps with quivering lips and a bit disquieted, but I do believe with a little more courage.

The featured image is courtesy of Julie Jablonski and is used with her kind permission for Cultivating.


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