The Courage Wall

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Last week Del Ray resident Nancy Belmont erected a large blackboard on Mt. Vernon Avenue, kitty-corner from St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub. In large block letters, the top of the blackboard says, “I Wish I Had the Courage To…” and there’s a bucket of chalk for passersby to finish the sentence.

This morning I spent some time reading the sentiments of strangers. Some were humorous; others were poignant and intimate. I could imagine myself writing many of 2 (1)

They said things like, “I wish I had the courage to”:

  • start my own business
  • tell my son he’s adopted
  • be myself
  • speak up
  • hike the Appalachian Trail
  • retire
  • ask a girl out
  • decorate in color
  • learn Spanish
  • take the time I need to heal
  • move to Paris

I read with some wondering.  I wondered why we have such fears… and what the list would look like if the wall was erected elsewhere – on the streets of Baltimore or Detroit, for example.

I read with a sense of discovery: my own fears are not all that unique. As human beings, we share similar anxieties.

And I read with hope. My hope is that we find communities of trust in which to share our fears. The church can be one such place – if we have the courage to open ourselves to others.

In Christ,

Pastor Jen


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