You Are Brave

Sitting around the campfire, I listened to your story.

The moon was bright and we were shivering, huddled together as close to the flames as we could get. You told me what happened. You told me what he did you to—for all those years. You told me you didn’t understand. You didn’t know it wasn’t okay. It wasn’t normal. But one day you learned, and one day you spoke up. Now you don’t see him anymore. Now you are getting better. You are healing.

I told you that I hope you know you are more than your past.

You are brave.

You came to us wanting. You came to us feeling you had nothing to give—you had given all you could and all that was left was a traumatized shadow of what once was. You can never unsee what you have seen. You can never forget. You watched your best fall beside you, never to be awakened again. You watched them fight alongside you, with you, for you—but you came back. They did not. You came to us hoping.

I told you that I don’t understand and I probably never will, but I am grateful for the pieces of your story you have shared.

You can do this, you know. We know you can.

You are brave.

I know you will never feel whole again. Not really.  Not here. You will grow and bloom and stretch. But a part of you was lost with her that you will never get back. And that kind of loss is the hardest kind—the kind with no understanding. We want to know why and we do not. We never will. I’m sorry for your loss and I’m sorry those empty words are said to you repeatedly and offer no solace at all. The only way up from here is to look outside yourself. . . but you know this.  

You are stronger than you know.

You are brave.

What brought you here? Who I see is not who I remember. He was bright. He understood his worth and valor. He had a dream and fought beyond reason to achieve it. He did not allow failure to dishearten him—he allowed it to remind him to get up one more time. He is still within you, that man. Every now and then I see glimpses of him.

You are more than you have become and I hope to God you find him again. You can. You will.

You are brave.

Thank you for saying to me what no one else would. Thank you for challenging my beliefs, my worldviews, my lifestyle. Thank you for living beyond the cowardice label I bestowed upon you. Thank you for coming home. Thank you for recognizing the power of wonder—though terrifying it may be.

You are wise and you live with intention, seeking Truth always.

You are brave.