I’ll Borrow Your Brave and You Borrow Mine. Okay?

Surrounded by Blue Spruce trees in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, I had found a special spot on the edge of the small island I had come to work at for the next eight weeks. Listening to the waves lap gently upon the shore, I decided that I needed to stand up and stretch. The rock I stood on was wet and my foot slipped. I grabbed a tree branch above me, but it broke off and hit me in the head.

The next thing I remember, I woke up in the water, my face bobbing up and down below the surface. I was so disoriented. Where was I? What happened? After a few minutes, I pulled myself out of the water, stunned. I had knocked myself out and had almost drowned. On the first day.

After an evening in the ER making sure I hadn’t aspirated too much water, I was brought back to camp. The next morning we were to receive training in the different specialties that were taught to our campers. First up—waterskiing. Just a day after my horrifying experience, I was going to have to jump in the water and attempt something I had been afraid to do even before this! I sat on the edge of the dock until they told me I needed to learn to be the helper in the water

The way we taught waterskiing was by having someone in the water who could guide the skier. You sit behind them and help by pushing their skis in the right position and holding them steady as they get used to holding the reins. I didn’t need to actually be able to ski myself—I just had to know how to guide my campers in the right way, setting them up so that they could take off successfully.

I don’t consider myself a very brave person. In fact, something as simple as making a phone call can make my palms sweat and my heart race (texting is the best invention ever, in my opinion). There is one thing I learned during my time overseas, though. I could come behind people and encourage them to keep moving forward.

Bravery for me comes from community. I can’t do it on my own. Some of my favorite memories are sitting with other expat moms in our city and sharing stories about what it was like to raise kids there. I don’t know if any of us felt brave all the time, but we knew how to come behind each other, to hold each other steady in Christ. And we cheered when we saw someone successfully take off. Yes, there were a lot of times when we got wacked in the head by unknown circumstances, but there was always someone to encourage us to move forward.

Photo Credit : Unsplash


  1. Elizabeth November 19, 2014

    I SO get being afraid of phone calls!! I used to have to really prep myself for them. So I am thankful for the advent of texting, too 🙂

    About this whole needing community thing, YES. (And I miss our talks together.) I heard an interesting thing from an interview with Nadia Bolz-Weber, whom I don’t know much about, but someone recommended the podcast. She said she doesn’t think sufficient grace is given to individuals, but that sufficient grace is given to communities. That we’ve relinquished ourselves from the need for community in the individualistic West, strayed from the design we’ve been given. And I think that is true. I think God designed community, and it wasn’t some superfluous add-on. It was central to the way we’re supposed to live. I need other people, and they need me, and that is beautiful.

  2. M'Lynn November 20, 2014

    I’ve never ever thought about bravery in the context of community. I love this!

  3. a gurl November 20, 2014

    This is so difficult. I can have community but only in small doses. And yet going to another country and interacting there is different. The scars run deep. I am learning communtiy as we prepare for the field. I don’t understand why God would call me to something that is a huge waterloo battle for me. But at the same time I keep in mind his grace is made perfect in my weakness.

    Community/Fear. Terror…

    It is so hard to be a part of. And yet as an isolationist I crave it. I dont understand it yet. I poke a stick at community. And little by little learning safety, boundaries and need. I still grapple with need. That I need you. But. in time and healing grace I am learning that that is what the body is all about. Being brave to say I need you. You need me. Is a beautiful thing. Simple tasks overwhelm. And yet when I let go of the should of’s and let go of the expectations I can do this. By his grace I can be part of.

    And the amazing thing of community is that we are to be there for each other.  Thank you for your vulnerability. I have found Velvet Ashes to be real. And learning bravery…

  4. Cecily Willard November 20, 2014

    “Encourage them to keep moving forward.”  Love that!  We can all do that.  We all lose our sense of direction sometimes and need someone to gently turn us in the right direction.  Like, when we make a mistake.  Instead of beating ourselves up, we need someone to just help us get back up and continue on our way.

    Carry on, then!

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