This is Meri. She works for the probation service here in England, and she wrote this post.
She is my friend, and she is brave.
I used to think that brave must mean fighting war, or ‘beating’ illness, or overcoming huge adversity. I thought it must mean something big, something bold, something other than what I knew; something quite beyond the likelihood of my small life. I never believed that others might one day describe ME as brave, surely never imagined I might be asked even to write about the idea. But yet, it’s a concept my mind has been musing for a while. And it’s taken… a while… to concede I might have something to say.
My job is to spend a lot of time with individuals you’d generally avoid. The angry ones. The violent ones. The ‘dangerous’ ones. The not particularly clean ones. The lost-cause, down-and-out no-hopers. The ones in prison, and the ones just out of prison. And in prison again. And again. And again. When you reach me, it’s because everything society knows to do has been tried, and has failed. Because addiction has a grip that policies cannot release. Because the need to belong is a deep, inherent heart-cry, twisted and exploited by gangs and pimps. Because abuse teaches that your body, your mind are worth nothing and your heart worth even less. Because rejection strangles this heart until it pulsates only with anger and bitterness. Because fear is the most terrifyingly powerful force I know.
There is one thing more terrifying. More formidable. More overwhelming. One thing that chases down the addiction, the anger, the rejection, the bitterness, and does. not. give. up., until every ounce of fear is ravaged and consumed and utterly finished by the furious torrent of perfect Love. This is love, that drove the most beautiful man I know to give his life so completely for me. For you. This love, that pledges itself heart and soul, disregarding the boundaries of geography, or race, or poverty, this Love has won me and captured me and wrecked me for anything but a deeper knowing of Him.
See, when you’ve looked into His eyes, there’s nothing left to do but love Him. Bravery starts here; it starts with surrender, with a lovesick abandonment that comes with knowing his heart’s song intertwining with yours. I have heard his song. He sings with reckless delight over the lost and unlovely, the thief and the prisoner, the violent and the addicted; my spirit replies and my heart lurches fiercely for Him and for the ones he adores.
I don’t think I’m remotely remarkable. And yet, I know I am. You are, too, whether you know it yet, or not yet. You are brave. It is within you. Your dream is your daring, and pursuit of your heart’s deep burning, your own brave adventure. We are designed to live beyond ourselves, to pour our being into something greater than we grasp. This is fearless. This is love. This is brave.