As featured in North Hawaii News March 23, 2016
Many of us face challenges in our lives that require endurance and courage in the face of uncertainty. Without being assured that all will be well, we rely on our inner strength to talk us through. This month, I’d like to honor the bravery you have within. With your attention on brave acts, I hope you will also find yourself respecting it in others. I would like to share some examples of bravery that have inspired me recently.
My young daughter wanted to make a new friend, yet was afraid the girl would reject her. I explained that bravery is being afraid and doing it anyway, especially if you walk and speak with confidence and respect. She clenched her little fists, held her head high and walked over to the unknown. A few minutes later, they were playing together and laughing. She learned to overcome fear in one of the many ways life will test her through her childhood.
A young woman named Nadia became a slave to an ISIS militant and narrowly escaped. She spoke about her experience at a United Nations forum. I feel she was very brave to share the emotional and physical trauma to her sacred feminine body while in a room full of representatives from many different countries. Nadia gave a voice to the many who are suffering in hopes that they, too, may become free.
I have a friend who is now in skilled nursing care who would love to go home and resume his activities at our day program, along with Kupuna CrossFit. The choice is up to professionals who believe it is safest for him to stay in his current setting. I see a strong desire in his eyes to go home. However, he says he understands that they mean well and it can’t be helped. No complaints, just a brave face.
When it comes to older adults, I believe they deserve acknowledgement for their acts of bravery, rather than sympathy or condescension. When people say that “old age isn’t for sissies,” they are right. It often means accepting personal loss along with the will to get up and participate in the day, even when it is painful to do so. An older adult I cared for used to say “it’s not easy getting old, but it’s better than the alternative!”
We all climb our own personal mountains. I believe we all deserve to be recognized for our efforts, which helps us feel encouraged to stay on course. Just like the uphill climb from Pololu Valley, those switchbacks may be steep and exhausting in places, but those breathtaking views and feelings of accomplishment are well worth the challenge.