When I was a little girl, in order for me to fully understand something, I needed to feel it.
It drove my parents crazy. I would fiddle with the buttons in the car or the dials on the radio. One time I even placed my pudgy four-year-old hand on the stove burner because it was a bright, vivacious red and looked so pretty. Turned out it was just plain hot.
Not a lot has changed as I’ve gotten older. I’m nineteen now, and my hands still find themselves wandering – to feel, to touch, to apprehend.
My hands long to feel, but more than that, they long to create.
I create when I’m sad, and I create when I’m joyful. I create because it’s therapeutic, and I create because it’s necessary. I create because I have to feel in order to understand.
Earlier this year when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. Usually when I’m lost or confused, I write. But in that particular time, the words refused to come.
The words refused for a good long time.
But my hands still itched to understand, so instead of creating words, I created art.
I painted, and water colored, and illustrated, and lettered, and drew – verse after verse, quote after quote, lyric after lyric – desperately trying to grasp onto anything that was solid or steady or concrete.
Jesus met me as I created. He met me there in my water-coloured brokenness. He met me in my pain that was a thousand shades of ugly. He met me as I stroked my hurt across the card stock, as I lettered the prayers I could not utter onto the page.
And with that, I was given a choice.
The choice to choose brave.
It was my mom who named the shop where I now sell these hand lettered prints. The Choose Brave shop.
Bravery is not about not having fear. It’s not always a ferocious lion, or a huge army of strength. It’s shaking knees, nauseous stomach, want-to-run-as-far-away-as-possible. Like my beautiful friend Lisa-Jo says, scared is the new brave.
This has been the year of brave for me, and maybe it’s the year of brave for you, too.
Choose brave, even when it’s hard. Choose brave, especially when it’s hard. Choose brave, always.
(And if you’re anything like me and your hands need to feel in order to understand, go on now, go create.)