{hilary} brave is best.

editor's note :: i'm taking a break this month to work on a new manuscript. some of my closest friends have agreed to fill this space in my absence with their thoughts on bravery and what it means for our faith. you can read the rest of the posts here. today, hilary shares her words.  We are standing in a puddle in the middle of the sidewalk on a hot and humid night. I am gasping for breath, and I clench my hands together as I wait for him to say something. I think I have just been punched in the stomach. "I'm sorry, Hil" he finally says as he holds out his arms. Just one hug, I think. Just one last time. It isn't that he is dating someone. It's that I had to tell him that because he is dating someone we can't see each other.

I want to undo it as soon as the words escape me. I want to walk back into the bar and rewind to when we were friends who flirted and wondered but never said it, never pushed that door open, never meant anything by it. I want to go back to when it was laughter and fun and a black dress that hugged my hips just right. I want to smile at him and say I didn't mean it- and everything can stay just as it was. In this moment I imagine the bargain: my aching hopeful heart in exchange for just one more drink.

I want to tell God to shove it.  I want what I want, and now, and no matter how it bruises the gentle heart He gave me. 

I feel the tug of those strong boy arms, but I break away. He looks at me, surprised. "I can walk you to the metro," he offers. I tell him no, that I'm fine on my own. He walks me anyway. We are silent, and I know he is waiting to know if I really mean it. If walking away is walking away, is goodbye. "Bye, friend?" Tears surge to my eyes- friend? That's all you have? "Bye, um- yeah. Bye." I get on the subway and sink into a cracked leather cushion. I don't text him goodnight. I let silence fill the train car and I cry harder than I have ever cried in my life. For a boy in converse who called me friend, who walked me down the street and around the pond. I cry because I couldn't stay. I cry because I actually left.

This is a story of the brave things that roar. For days after the puddle and the subway I thought I had made a huge mistake. I thought about texting him back. I thought about apologizing. I opened and reopened the stories and letters and old conversations. I imagined wildly that he would come running to find me. I prayed hard that I was wrong and that God would lead us back to each other.

He didn't answer that prayer.

Instead He built my courage. I learned that you don't cry forever. That you don't need to be afraid of disappointment, because what happens to you is for good. So you roar with the truth. You roar with a love that says if he is dating and you're falling into love and you're both flirting? You walk away and let your heart calm from the storm.

Brave is best because it teaches you the best kind of love. Love that bends and breaks and walks away and trusts that sometimes you must walk away. Love that sits in the subway and knows that even as it aches it heals.

I remember that humid summer night, the smell of the air and my black dress. But mostly I remember the lesson: brave is best, even when it hurts. Brave is worth it.



BIO :: Hilary is a recent college graduate, fumbling her way through the future with laughter and love. She loves to run, drink lattes, and tell the beautiful, messy stories of growing up in this big, beautiful world. She blogs at http://thewildlove.wordpress.com and tweets at @hilarysherrat

Posted on July 12, 2012 .