Bravery though, seems to be a little more elusive. I've often thought before that people going through difficult circumstances must also magically become brave, and maybe they do - but the reality is, I've found that I have not. It's more the case that given any other option than face it, the Lymphoma, the chemo, the sick days, and on and on, make no mistake - I likely would have chosen anything else.
So, what is bravery? Is it acceptance? Perhaps. Day by day I accept a little more of where I am, and what I'm going through and it gives me hope that I will be able to see things through to a good place.
Is it circumstantial? Definitely. Though when I think back on all the moments in my life that required bravery, all were situations that really had only one way out, and the type of bravery required was very situation specific. Under the knife in the delivery room, standing up for what I thought was right - and losing my job, being a Mama, and now cancer are only a few examples. But, in each one there isn't an "out", there isn't an easier path, the only way through it is to look it bang in the eye.
Is it "living it" scared? That may well be. I can attest to the truth there. Lymphoma is known to have good outcomes...and I'm still afraid. In that fear I have no choice but to move forward. To trust that God holds my outcome, my life - beginning and end, no matter what the doctors say. That today, tomorrow, and the future don't belong to me - but to God's good purposes.
Is it defined by the people around me? Yes. It's here I know for certain where bravery lives and breathes and is grown. It's in the hugs, and the shared tears, the text messages and cards, the phone calls and the emails. It's people reminding me, "you're strong", "you're brave", and "I'm praying for you" that really, truly tip the balance in the favor of brave.
So, thank you. All of you.
You make me brave.