Today is part three of a three-part message. Our theme has been being bold, being brave, being you. I have called it a book review. Because Amazon has a book—a blank book—with the title, Be Bold. Be Brave. Be You.
Be bold and brave for all of us.
We’ve talked about being bold and brave as beautiful and wonderful creations of God’s. In my last post, we talked about being bold and brave for those around us. Today we’ll talk about how to be bold and brave for all of us.
On Wednesday at the inauguration of our president and vice president, Amanda Gorman, a young beautiful, 22-year old black woman, recited a remarkable poem. Amanda is the youngest inaugural poet ever. She was the first person ever named national youth poet laureate.
Amanda told the New York Times that she wrote her piece “to envision a way in which our country can still come together and can still heal.”
We’ve got a lot of healing to do. In Amanda’s opening remarks, she asked “When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?”
When day comes and we’re scrolling through our MSN news feed, it’s not a feel-good moment. When we listen to the news, it’s not encouraging. The headlines are not full of love, joy, peace, and hope.
You don’t need me to tell you that life is challenging. Even before COVID, our communities, our neighborhoods, our neighbors, friends, and family were all facing challenges not expected, never imagined, challenges that have continued to get bigger and bigger, more and more complex, challenges that are too often encased in hate—bravado, not bravery, brashness, not boldness.
In response, debates and discussions divide, demean, and deter, often helping no one, solving nothing. As the gavel comes down, frustrations, disappointments, anger, and determination spill out into the streets.
And while I’m looking for someone to blame, big challenges get bigger. Complex challenges get more and more complex.
No easy solutions
There are no easy solutions to homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, suicide, suicide among children, suicide among our veterans, illegal immigration, crime, the high cost of housing, the high cost of medical care, the high cost of this virus.
Too many important questions get left hanging in the air. Too many important issues of the day get trivialized and reduced to soundbites. Difficult conversations are plagued with public posturing. Public debates don’t just shred arguments, they shred character. Shouting matches shame, belittle and begrudge.
But “the dawn is ours…”
But Amanda reminded us, “The dawn is ours before we knew it.” She added, “We lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know, to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.”
When you and I choose to be bold and brave, we close the divide. We put our differences aside. When we come together as women of faith, we are able to “reach out our arms to one another,” quoting Amanda. “We seek harmony for all.”
Last week I talked about my trip to New York City with my husband Kurt. Our time in New York included a second visit to the Museum of Modern Art, because I needed a second look at Claude Monet’s Water Lilies.
Monet’s bravery and boldness
Monet’s masterpiece is huge. The panels take up an entire wall of the museum. My first reaction both visits was to walk right up to the painting. Standing beside the artwork, you can’t see the actual picture. All you can see are globs of color and brushstrokes that look messy, not mesmerizing.
But up close you can see where Monet chose to be bold and brave in his choices. But not until you step to the other side of the room can you see his famous lilies, the reflection of clouds in the pond.
Up close you can only see dabs of yellow paint, splotches of blue and purple, pink and green. From a distance, you can see depth and shadows. Standing back, you can see a peaceful Japanese-style pond covered with beautiful lilies.
When you choose to be bold, you become a beautiful spot of yellow in the day. Your bravery is a carefully added stroke of blue. And standing in the moment, that may be all you can see: spots of color, strokes of time.
But one day you’ll find yourself standing back just far enough to see a most beautiful picture. Thinking about how to be bold and brave, it’s easy to doubt: a few words of loving kindness are going to change the dialog? Change the discourse? Our own “WOLK with God” is going to change Amanda’s world?
Yes, not because of what you and I will do, but because of what God’s Holy Spirit will do. Let me repeat: not because of what you and I will do, but because of what God’s Holy Spirit will do in, through, and around us, because His Spirt will help us to be bold.
If we step back and give ourselves the opportunity to see the beauty that is in front of us, the picture is going to take our breath away!
IF WE DO NOTHING, NOTHING WILL CHANGE.
IF WE DO SOMETHING, THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS.
I truly believe we can have a meaningful impact on those places and people that mean the most to us—in the smallest moments, the smallest conversations, and also the bigger ones, the harder ones. Because we are women of faith and we are part of a bigger, more important purpose.
We can be agents of change. We can change the dialog, change the discourse. We can make a difference—today, right now. I believe it can be so! I believe we can be bold.
Today’s a blank page in our book. Be bold. Be brave. Be bold and brave for you, for those around you, for all of us.
God of hope, fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in You,
so that we may overflow with hope by the power of Your Holy Spirit.
Let Amanda’s final words guide us, “The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
Be bold. Be brave. Be you.
Deanna Nowadnick is the author of Fruit of My Spirit and Signs in Life.