The Bravest Thing | John Blase

maybe the bravest thing
is opening your eyes in the
morning and placing your
two feet on the cold floor and
rising up against the gravity
of the night. maybe that’s the
brave thing from which all other
bravery flows, the brave to
seek ye first. maybe that’s the
single thing God requires of you,
the spiritual discipline that takes
all your will to muster. Swallow
down the fear, my child, and face
the dawning day for what the
surface of the world needs most
of all is bravery skipping and
you, yes you are the stone.

I feel certain that someone needs to read these words today – maybe you; maybe me. Because we all have days when the hardest thing in the world is simply to open our eyes and face the morning. On those days, seeking first the kingdom of God can seem more challenging than climbing Mount Everest. Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, or loving our neighbor as our self? How can we hope to do that when we can barely pull ourselves out of bed?

Maybe, Blase reminds us in this poem, on those days the bravest thing we can do is rise up “against the gravity of the night” – rise up against the sheer weight of the anxieties pulling us down, and get out of bed. Trusting that as we do, God’s mercies will be “new every morning,” and God’s steadfast love and faithfulness will be with us and “never come to an end.” Just as the poet who wrote Lamentations confesses in the midst of those dark and difficult days.

What the surface of the world needs on those days, Blase suggests, is “bravery skipping” across the water. We don’t have to walk on water. Just skip a few times, and then sink into the love and mercy of God. And let Jesus pull us up, as he once did to Peter as he was sinking like a rock (the nickname that Jesus gave him, by the way: Petros, Rock!) Sink, be pulled up, and then cast ourselves on the water again; skip a few more times, and sink again into that love and mercy.

That is how to get through one of those days, isn’t? And it takes bravery, to be sure, and spiritual discipline, and everything else that we can pull together. But mostly, it takes faith. It takes trust. It takes the willingness to let Jesus pull us up out of the gravity of the night, out of whatever anxiety or trial is pulling us down. We don’t have to pull ourselves up. We can let our loving Savior do that for us. That kind of faith is what will help us skip across the dark water of that challenging day. That kind of faith and trust is the bravest thing. And that kind of faith and trust is the single thing that God requests.

If this is one of those days for you, I invite you to read this poem again, and place your trust in our loving and faithful God. Take the hand of our precious Lord, whose mercies are new every morning, and be lifted up to this new day.

This poem by John Blase is from a collection of his poetry that I own and turn to often, The Jubilee. You can learn more about this book, and all of his published books, on his website:

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