“Dare to stand before those you fear and speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.” ― Maggie Kuhn, activist for the elderly

I took a deep breath this evening as my needle moved up and down through dark linen, creating a simple patchwork heart. A bit weary from my family’s recent sickness, I was also feeling the lingering discomfort of an emotional ambush by a friend.

Earlier in the day, a benign conversation took a strange turn into a strained interaction. I awkwardly stood up for what I thought was good and true, but I trembled inside. After the short exchange, I got up, dusted myself off, and moved on. I was invigorated by the healthy ways I had applied my counselor’s wisdom as well as the words of love warriors like Brene Brown and Glennon Doyle Melton. I set my boundary, walked in my integrity, and made generous assumptions about my friend.

But I was still hung up on something and shame began swarming around me.

Why, after all these years, do I still shake when I am emotionally ambushed by this particular person?

Why do they have such power over me?

After a few hours of thinking on this in between dinner time, bath time, and reading stories with my kids, Truth invited herself in. And this is what she said.

“You tremble because you have come to deeply value your identity, an identity you have fought for through great struggle and opposition. Like a huntress of primal days being pursued by a predator, you quake in your bravery, because you are desperate to save your life. A life you have worked so hard to make whole and good. So it is right to tremble when you speak your truth, Dear One. Your quivering legs and racing heart are not a sign of weakness. They are a reminder that you value your deepest being. Yes, Beloved. It is right to tremble when you are saving a life. And you are a life worth saving.”

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