On many mornings, I drive Anna to school. The drive is only ten minutes or so from my house to the car pool line, but that ten minutes is precious time. Sometimes she and I "need" to have "a conversation" about something that occurred earlier in the morning or the day before. Sometimes we blast Anna's most recent ear worm, the latest being Laura Branigan's "Gloria." And sometimes we just chat or listen to podcasts.
One of our (truly, I am not exaggerating or exerting license, she genuinely requests this one) is the Writer's Almanac, a daily, five-minute or so nugget of poems, prose, and history (be still my liberal arts heart!). One of her preferred activities in school is Writer's Workshop, so perhaps Ellen and I have a budding novelist on our hands.
Last Saturday, November 9, the poem of the day was "Greenwich" by Kirsten Dierking. It reads,
At the naval museum I look at Nelson's uniform, the one
he was wearing the day he was killed, and the bullet's damage
to the blue coat is surprisingly slight.
Just before he died he said thank God I have done my duty.
He must have been a little afraid of not being able to do
the heroic work required of him.
It's a lovely day in late March, the sun and daffodils are out.
We walk to the observatory, straddle the prime meridian,
try to feel our blood flowing back and forth between hemispheres.
There's a lot of laughter, young people clowning around,After that final line, I looked back at my daughter, bright eyed and staring out the window and I wondered, when will she have to be brave? If I had my way, never. I would protect her from all things. But, I know that I can't and so I wonder, when and how will she have to be brave? I pray it's not for a long, long time.
adults striking silly poses for photographs. And why not?
One day, won't we all have to be brave?
But, our faith, our tradition, our Christ, assures us that when we are called to be brave, we are not alone. We believe in an incarnate, a present God who never abandons us. We uphold a tradition which values our community and mutual support of one another. I am reminded of the question to the congregation during the baptismal service, "Will you who witness these vows do all in your
power to support these persons in their life in Christ?" and we respond with a robust, "We will!" And we are saved by our resurrected Christ from death itself, and enabled to be brave.
When will we have to be brave? Who knows. But I do know, we are never brave alone.