I’m curious over E. E. Cummings—did he believe in Jesus?
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
His line about courage seems like something Jesus might’ve said to his newly picked disciples. He knew they needed to grow and he knew following him would not be easy. They would need courage. Courage and quiet discernment, determined commitment to being taught to follow a questionable hero.
There’s a survey going around amongst some blogging peers, the Proust survey. I secretly long to be surveyed and then I pray I’m not asked. The people who have been asked are true published writers, world travelers, New York dwellers. Crazy to think they may ask a simple Carolina girl who writes about trauma recovery, seeing God in the sky, and her struggles to where she is now, living because of believing in redemption.
Would I say yes if asked to participate in the twenty-or-so question survey? Or maybe the better question is would I say Jesus? Because so far everyone is answering “no one” to the question, “Who is your hero?”
Apparently, a hero is not a good thing for writers? I don’t know. Are bloggers only supposed to admire other writers or just themselves? I contemplated what I would say: Would I go along with the admirable reply of “nobody” or would I say Jesus?
Would I say Jesus? Jesus is my hero? The Jesus who is well-known, the one created by God to make heaven possible? Would I say his name?
I believe I would and it wouldn’t matter that some define hero as a mythical character or someone “super,” someone who swooped in and saved the day. Even though he did save the day—not with voluminous red cape and cinematic circumstance, but with steady mercy, easy grace, red streams of blood marking his frame.
Jesus is my hero. He is my model for courage, bravery, settled endurance with compassion never wavering. He is teaching me like he taught the disciples and like my mama always told me:
“Not all people are good, there’s some evil ones out there.”
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
Matthew 10:16 ESV
Jesus agreed with mama, mama with him. There are some people who don’t mean good for you, who won’t accept you as I know you.
I sought to become discerning—wise like a serpent and gentle like a quiet dove—about people who are not for me but are actually against me. People who flatter me with a side eye and a smile that is not for me, but is all about them.
Jesus picked his disciples and he taught them to follow and he instructed them in branching out into places on their own as teachers and examples of his love. He also told them not to stay long where they weren’t welcomed, in places they were allowed in for the wrong reasons, for the side eye smile. He taught them to know when to leave, that saying thanks and goodbye is brave. Is courageous.
I stepped away from the place that felt like a subtle invitation to trauma and submission to someone. Not necessarily against me, just not for me.
My feet are ready, taking me to places that are safer, better, good and full of even more questions. And I’ll say the name of Jesus. Say it in a sure and brave way, an invitation to curiosity over my answer. I will say “Jesus.” I will find the courage to grow up and be who I really am. I will give an invitation.