Learning to Tango

Oftentimes life is more of a tango than a tightrope act. It’s more about learning to dance in an ever evolving rhythm than mastering the art of balance. I’ve been learning to dance the tango between strength & courage lately. It’s not always a pretty sight…I may trip over my own two feet quite often. But still, I’m learning.

Strength isn’t something I’ve often felt in need of. Growing up in a family that was keen on strength rather than expressing emotion, as well as my life journey helped me learn to be strong to survive…or at least that’s what I’ve always thought I needed to be. We also live in a world that says strong is better…strong as in always smiling, not admitting weakness…surely not admitting brokenness…and protecting yourself rather than being vulnerable.

But here’s the thing…strength is of the mind, while courage is of the heart. And sometimes I need my heart to temper my mind…to keep me soft…help me be compassionate…allow me to love others.

I’m beginning to believe that there is such as thing as too strong. And courage bridles strength.

When I’m too strong I become cold. I like to put up walls…tall, thick, castle-worthy walls. I used to think that by doing so I was keeping other people out, but I’ve realized I’m really only keeping myself in.

When I’m too strong, I’m not fully living. But courage…courage gives me life. 

It allows me to feel. Yes, to feel the pain along with the joy. But I’d rather feel both than neither. Courage gives me the ability to offer grace. To be compassionate. And to risk loving others deeply even if it may mean hurt & disappointment.

With courage I am alive to life. I see beauty all around me in every moment of every day. With courage I am able to say, “God is good…all.the.time.” Yes, life may hurt & I may be broken, but He is still good.

Courage is strength that is able to admit weakness…that can embrace brokenness because it knows that weakness is not the same as defeat. It knows that there is uncanny beauty in surrender. That though it may never make sense to our human minds, even surrender takes strength.

These days, I am learning to love…to let my heart love as Christ loves. To truly love others no matter they may or may not give back. To love in spite of the risk of hurt…of disappointment. And through doing so, I’m learning courage. Because the act of loving softens our hearts and teaches us courage, but the act of loving also requires courage…requires our hearts.

It’s an intense tango between strength & courage. But it’s a dance worth learning, because together they make a fiercely beautiful pair. 

With courage, Katie

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