Friday, October 1, 2010

Simple Courage

The work day started at 3:30 this morning with my work phone exploding.  By the time I got off the phone and dressed, and made my way into the hallway of offices at 6 a.m. the defeat had already settled. It is a unique relationship, being the only woman in a hallway of men who have only known the manufacturing world, grease, machines and manual labor.  Defeat had leveled the playing field. Those gentle men who towered over my short body now appeared to be my height. 

As I started my computer one of the guys came in and literally fell into a chair.  I turned and one look at his face told me all I needed to know. I walked over to him and held out my hand. He stood up and I hooked my arm in his and made him do the Dosey Doe dance with me in a tight circle. When we stopped our dance, in my most authoritative voice, I gathered the others and my faithful beach ball. I tossed it in the air and used my head to send it flying to one of the guys who immediately turned red when he jumped, “like a girl”. Game on. Opening my desk drawer I brought out a toy that played the Star Wars Darth Vader Theme Song. For the next fifteen minutes we played soccer and beach ball hackey sack in my office and in the hallway to the blaring of the Evil Empire’s Anthem. With each bounce, each slam dunk, each rebound against the wall and each bellowed “do over” I watched mighty oaks break forth from acorns and reach for the sun.

When all slowly dispersed, I sat at my desk, sipping my coffee and staring at rows and rows of Excel lines, rows, columns and squiggly things called numbers. No, I wasn’t seeing the data, I was listening to laughter, to men talking about “manly stuff” and, I was listening to the sound of courage. No, nothing about the reason for defeat had changed. No the phones and emails did not stop, in fact their intense fury increased. The only difference was they had the courage to face it and figure it out. If they could not succeed, well, at least they didn’t surrender.

Yes, the butterfly has to flap her wings; we have to act to make the “magic” happen. Sometimes though, we need to stop flapping and notice our surroundings. We need to see those who maybe are a bit timid, dare not believe, are not allowed to believe, or theirs is the only voice trying to believe and is overshadowed by the fear of those around them.  It takes courage to flap our wings. It takes courage to believe. And, like love, courage reserved or held within does nothing but atrophy. Sometimes, instead of flapping, maybe we need to make sure we are also lifting, reaching, touching and aware of others.  To pause in our busy lives and our own excitement of flapping to do a wing count and notice those who cannot. That is the real courage, the real magic. And the beauty of the magic is that it can be as easy as a simple hello. Now that’s a butterfly effect. That is Hope’s Breath.