Monday, March 30, 2015

When Am I Brave?

Many of my students leave parts of themselves on papers as they work.  Some leave pictures or hearts or the initials of those they 'love' or phrases in French or lyrics to songs.  Sometimes, there are poems or emotional statements about wanting others to take notice of them.  A bit ago, one that caught my attention was a more lengthy and philosophical writing piece.  It was to the effect of: "Is man brave if he doesn't fear.  No, he is only brave when he is fearful."  Hmmm...this wasn't the standard doodle and it did catch my attention, as I walked around the classroom.

This thinking was in line with what Captain America and I had been discussing as of late about failure and success; about not fearing failure, what is considered 'success', dreaming big, and falling short.  Although these ideas can apply to MANY aspects of our current life story, I began thinking about this in relation to my progress with Ulcerative Colitis and my diet.  Looking ahead, I was thinking about my next trip to France and wanting to be less limited in what I would bring this time.  In order to do this, I would need to be a little more bold in my eating habits.  I rarely try new food items during the school year, because of what digestive issues may result.  Still, with the hope of broadening my food options, I decided to test the waters with trying-out beans, for the first time in four years.  SUCCESS!  About three weeks later, when Spring hit early and allergies were running rampant, I decided to try some local honey.  I had a small spoonful (it was SO sweet!) and had no issues.  Two days later, I tried it again (for the last time).  The next day, I felt slight urgency but nothing serious.  A week later, a few more bouts of issues and then a couple weeks later: a full-out flare.  Now, any and all of my clean food options are causing reactions.  So, FAILURE?

Yes, on the part of honey.  Yes, I'm now skillfully managing my classes to make sure that I have an easy exit plan while they are busy on a task, in case I need to leave.  Yes, I'm now taking way too many steps backwards in my food options, health, and physical abilities.  But, I find myself going back and thinking: did I let myself be brave? did I let myself dream big? did I let myself have the option of failing or succeeding? Yes.  And in fact, just as the wise words of my student said, I was brave because I was fearful.  I could have kept going with the basics but I chose to dream a bit bigger.  Was it a failure? Yes.  Was it a success? No.  But I'm continuing to learn from it and I'm praying that I'll come out stronger than I was before.
When have you been brave, recently?  You know, the kind of brave that caused you to fear the outcome...


Danielle said...

This was a very encouraging post. Thanks for sharing! Maybe we have been defining failure incorrectly. Hope things get better for you quickly!

Andréa Maul said...

Thanks! Prayers welcomed!