Ocean, What Ocean?

I’ve long felt it necessary to be sufficiently hard-nosed in order to survive psychologically through life but something inside tells me that sensitivity is just as important. Without it, without empathy, the world would be an impossibly harsh place. ” – Paul Fischer


Paul is a Londoner now living in Croatia. I am a lifelong American. You, as a reader of this blog, join others from a hundred countries on six continents. At a glance it seems the greater our geographical and cultural divide, the less likely any of us would relate. But life, and how we cope with it, is often a challenge for us all. Supposing there are others in varied states of misery who might like some company, Paul and I are letting you eavesdrop on our recent exchange of emails: 

Hi Cindi,

You are an irreplaceable friend, Paul. And an excellent writer. I think your words should be shared with as many people as possible; surely many people would identify and feel less alone, knowing someone out there feels the same.


Maybe our emails would fit nicely into your blog, one wounded heart comforted by another – across the oceans and across the widest of theological divides.
.
DSCN2154.jpg length crop for blog
 .
So we did just that, as evidence that coping with life is a universal challenge. Though it may not seem so, you’re not the only one with the thoughts or emotions you have — someone somewhere is experiencing the same. I propose that when you’ve sufficiently recovered from whatever has knocked you down, you get back out there in this world we share and overcome evil with good — one day at a time, one deed at a time, one soul at a time — across the oceans and widest of divides.

I See Your Courage

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”

So many of you exhibit courage. It has not gone unnoticed. While the effect on others is invisible to you, you have empowered, emboldened, and strengthened others by your bravery. I am just one person impacted.

I’ve watched you pick yourself up after great tragedies and put one foot in front of the other again, resuming a life forever altered. I’ve observed you endure the small but relentless blows of life, too, determined to not let them beat you, or define you, or deny you.

I’ve marveled at your courage to begin new careers and ventures and fields of study, often not by choice but born of necessity. Some of you did that because your first choice, your preferred life, dissolved before your eyes. Still, you found Plan B, or C, or D. You kept looking and kept trying.

I’ve seen you defend a slandered friend, and support that lone person badgered by the popular majority. I’ve witnessed you risk condemnation by sharing your thoughts, your past, your beliefs, your music and art, your talent, some aspect of your identity—what makes you YOU.

Your courage is never more evident than when what makes you YOU differs from most.

You may have regretted an act of courage afterward. You may have felt the exposure, the nakedness, the vulnerability. But what you don’t know, what you can’t know, is that even as you wrestle with self doubt, someone out there has been strengthened immeasurably because of you.

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” (Billy Graham)

I See Your Courage

(This post was originally published on 9/18/2013, and has gained a significant following in northern Europe in recent weeks. Since I’ve discontinued my old website, I’m re-posting here—my new home base.)

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”

So many of you exhibit courage. It has not gone unnoticed. While the effect on others is invisible to you, you have empowered, emboldened, and strengthened others by your bravery. I am just one person impacted.

I’ve watched you pick yourself up after great tragedies and put one foot in front of the other again, resuming a life forever altered. I’ve observed you endure the small but relentless blows of life, too, determined to not let them beat you, or define you, or deny you.

I’ve marveled at your courage to begin new careers and ventures and fields of study, often not by choice but born of necessity. Some of you did that because your first choice, your preferred life, dissolved before your eyes. Still, you found Plan B, or C, or D. You kept looking and kept trying.

I’ve seen you defend a slandered friend, and support that lone person badgered by the popular majority. I’ve witnessed you risk condemnation by sharing your thoughts, your past, your beliefs, your music and art, your talent, some aspect of your identity—what makes you YOU.

Your courage is never more evident than when what makes you YOU differs from most.

You may have regretted an act of courage afterward. You may have felt the exposure, the nakedness, the vulnerability. But what you don’t know, what you can’t know, is that even as you wrestle with self doubt, someone out there has been strengthened immeasurably because of you.

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” (Billy Graham)