Lately, I have been at a loss on what to write my next post about. Then appeared the “WordPress Daily Prompt” challenge.
The prompt was “brave” and my mind immediately began to whirr (I love when that happens). I usually feel intimidated by these prompts; however, today I decided to join in.
I’m preparing to do something that is outside my comfort zone…again. It’s somewhat a theme for me. This “thing” used to be within my comfortable place. After time away, I now need to dive anew back in. I’m sort of scared.
During this time, the voice of a little girl I met in India comes to my mind.
Saroja, came from thatched roofs and mud floors, from backbreaking labor in helping her family make bricks and taking care of her baby sister from the age of four, when her sister was born, to live in the children’s home we ran.
In the home, my husband taught and encouraged the girls who lived there to play cricket, which is not commonly done in India. Cricket is a very popular pastime for boys mainly. We saw them playing on any available land space, including side streets and empty lots. We did not have a lot of space, so my husband came up with a courtyard cricket version of the game, with courtyard cricket rules.
Saroja was fearless and when the boys came up to bat, she stood right in front, ready to catch the ball even though they hit it hard and fast. One of the boys told her she was brave and she proudly responded, “I have iron in my heart.” But in her world, being strong as a girl is not often a safe thing to be. This made her even stronger, more courageous in my mind.
Returning to visit her forest village, after living with us for a few years, several young and older men approached her family and requested to “have her.” She was only around 13 years old. When she returned to the children’s home from her village, Saroja came to us and said anxiously, “I am too young and I don’t want to get married yet. I want to study some more. I want to become a teacher.” Unfortunately, this little girl’s family had already spoken to her about arranging a match for marriage.
This was the time to be brave. We put our heads together and came up with a plan to stall the family. Even though it is not customary, she pleaded with them to wait. Surprisingly, it worked. This was four years ago and she has gone further in her education. Last year, we lost contact with her. I don’t know if her dream to become a teacher will become a reality. However, I remember the last thing I said to her as we hugged, tearfully saying goodbye, “Be brave!”
It makes no difference what culture we are from, or what situation we find ourselves up against. What season in life that brings fear to our soul. There are times when the next steps in our journey require us to be brave. We all need to be brave sometimes. To set aside fear and take the first steps; leaving our comfort behind and walking down a path that is at least initially unknown and scary. Leaving behind some of our routines to make new ones. Stepping away from the main path, and blazing a new trail.
I’ll tell you what I told Saroja and what I tell myself, “Be brave!” As Saroja said, “Have iron in your heart!”