one moment you are floating along and then…

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Last weekend we were on the lovely, lovely Isle of Palms in Charleston. My oh my, almost perfection.   Roger had a work thing and I was a lucky tag-along.

Soaking up the sun, walking on the beach, this starfish was floating just below the surface right where the waves began. I envisioned her happy in the sun like I was.

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Snapping this picture, I marveled at her colors and that dot on her head.  We connected – me and this starfish.

Laughter and voices caused me to look up and see a mother and daughter walking my way. The girl leaned down to see what I was studying.

I want it!  She declared. The starfish?  Asked the mother.  It can’t live out of the water, leave it there.

I want it! I want it! Shrieked this girl.  Ok, but it’s going to die.  The mother lamented as she acquiesced to the request.

Shouldn’t she stay in the water and be happy?  I butted in on behalf of my new seaside friend.  The mother gave me a weak smile and a shrug; there was no response from the henchgirl.

Out of the water and into the bucket of shells plopped the starfish.

Just. Like. That.   A life altered.

I felt surprising sadness for the creature.  I felt pity for the small family drama I just witnessed but that is a story for another day!

What a reminder of the fragility of life and thinness of the thread holding it all together. One minute we are floating along wearing a Life is Good ® t-shirt and the next we are in a dry bucket of shells helpless and hopeless.

It happens.  In varying degrees of depth and destruction but it happens to everyone. The sudden trauma, disappointment, diagnosis and heartache that follows.

I am constantly amazed at the resilience of the human spirit.  The stories throughout history of incredible courage, the stories I hear of folks who overcome amazing adversity and get up when getting up is the hardest thing.

No one is immune so the question is not why but now what?  How do we get up and find our brave?

It isn’t a secret that my 26-year marriage ended suddenly, abruptly and gut-wrenchingly.   Truth be told, the erosion began much earlier than the collapse but the collapse was monumental and catastrophic.

I couldn’t breath and getting up was the hardest part.   It was adultery, out loud and in public.  The world I inhabited and my kids inhabited knew quickly – like wildfire.  The flames licked everything – family, friends, church, school, work.  Engulfed by the enormity of it, nothing was unscathed as it was all held together by the thin thread.  No place was safe.

Get up.  You have to get up, became my daily mantra. The children need you. People depend on you. Get up. That’s how I did it.  I just got up and put a foot on the floor…everyday…one day at a time.

How do we do it when the walls crash in?  When thrown in a bucket of dry shells without water?  Get up.  We continue to get up and one day,  life is righted just the slightest bit, we aren’t falling over and the sun peeps through.

We are all brave. Deep down hidden in the dark until one day, it is called on when our knees are weak and voice is trembling. Brave, I need you.

If you have been plopped in a bucket of dry shells, you’ve got this.

You are indeed, Surprisingly Brave.  Get up and put one foot in front of the other until the steps are easier and you see the sun.

Slowly and miraculously. Life is indeed good.

If you would like to share your brave story, please do.  I would be honored to hear it.

Carry on brave one,

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