My favourite necklace was the one inscribed with brave.
But the point of it was never to be kept looped around my neck. The point was always to be given away.
I, of course, wasn't planning on giving it away. I needed the message. I needed brave. I needed the idea that something flawed and used and worn could still hold courage.
When I met Tat, I knew something was different about her. People had told me that she and her family were missionaries in Peru, and that Tat was back in Canada working at our camp for the summer. She was seventeen, and when I first met her I thought, this is a girl I want to know.
We were at our staff training. It was lunch. I took my plate and plopped down on the bench across from her. "So," I said. "Tell me about yourself."
She laughed -- what I have since learned is her laugh she uses when she's nervous -- and said, "What do you want to know?"
"Everything. Tell me about you. Your life. Your story."
Tat laughed again, less nervous that time, and started to tell me. She told me about her dreams and her love for Haiti; she told me about her home in Peru; she told me about her family and their lives that felt, to me, vastly different from the people I knew.
I went to my room once our conversation was finished. My fingers found the necklace before my brain and heart had caught up. I wrapped my hand around the long brass chain and held on. I knew -- instinctually -- it was the right thing to do. She was the right person to give it to.
I found her, clumsily passing along my favourite necklace, my favourite word.
"This is for you," I said.
I pressed the key into the palm of her hand. "You're one of the bravest people I know." I think I saw tears in her eyes. "I didn't want you to forget that."
I need brave. That fact hasn't changed. But sometimes, I'm learning, other people need brave too. Sometimes there are days where it's braver to give your brave away.