Courage to Walk

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Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
Isaiah 54:4

I have made mistakes. Plenty of them. I have done things that are humiliating and that I am ashamed of. I have chosen the wrong paths on so many occasions it’s frankly embarrassing to even be writing this now.

Why would YOU want to listen to ME? Seriously. I often wonder that. How in the world is God using me? Why?

My new book The Ultimate Love Affair (due out by May 31) peels back the layers of all the shame and poor choices I’ve made in my life (ok maybe not ALL but a good majority of them) and exposes them (and me!). And that was scary. Very very scary.

I have had my critics who would prefer I write a more picture perfect advice book. Can’t we just stick to the general lessons of spirituality and life that people have written about for centuries? In my opinion, that would help no one.

Why? We connect in our brokenness. We see ourselves in the mistakes and failures of others. We feel less alone. We feel more normal. If they admitted it, then so can I, and then we can both heal together.

I’ve known people who were too perfect. Not a day was out of sorts or a strand of hair out of place. I even had someone tell me once (about my first book Ride the Wave: Journey to Peaceful Living) that she was happy for me and also that she never experienced any of it so it didn’t really apply to her.

Wow! She never experienced frustration or resentment or anger? Was she always able to maintain peace and harmony and emotional stability? Didn’t she need any tips or help in that area? Say whaaaaaaat? Well good for her, if that’s true.

But more likely the case is that she didn’t want to expose herself to me. And you can imagine how deep that friendship went. It never even ventured into the shallow end. We were always poolside…if you get my drift.

I remember asking her questions and she would invariably turn them around back to me. I finally said one day, “You never answer my questions. You always keep me talking,” to which she replied, “Ya think?”

In my world friendship requires so much more than that. I find no meaning in the hum-drum talk of life happenings…who is in what sport, what stores have what sales, and what shows are good on TV now. I. Don’t. Care.

Honestly. I don’t.

I want what is real. I want the juice of life. I want to know your dark side and your scary thoughts. I want to understand what makes you, you. I want to enjoy the richness of emotional connection and honest communication. And that is hard for most people. We are used to keeping up that silly fake front. What I call the pleasant distance.

The reason I want to know you is not to fuel my tank with secret gossip to be dispersed at a later time when you are not around. It is because when I hear you share your truth I feel better about mine. Why? I know that WE are in this crazy imperfect and often confusing life together and WE have gotten tripped up on the same stuff. And it’s OK.

That takes courage. And I LOVE courageous people who can speak clearly and articulate what they need and understand to some degree the inner workings of their heart and soul. It takes time and painful examination to be able to make those inner connections and that is why most people don’t do it. But those who do find a richness to life that is inaccessible to those who are content sitting at the poolside.

I’ll close with this.

I was texting with a dear friend recently and we were discussing (you guessed it) the trials of life and having courage to walk towards something or away from something and this just came through me. The phrase, “The Courage to Walk.”

I have been thinking about writing it through and then sharing it with you so today feels like the right moment. I wonder what will come out. Hope you enjoy. I’m going to tap into my inner poet now I’ll see you tomorrow. Please share this post if it helped you today. Love, April

The Courage to Walk
By, April O’Leary

Did you ever need the courage
To walk to distant lands
To say no to the familiar
To let go of God’s strong hand?

Did you ever need the courage
To face the world alone
To live inside the shadows
To forget what you called home.

Did you ever need the courage
To look clearly at your lot
To see that it’s not working
To let go and make it stop.

Did you ever need the courage
To walk back home again
To turn and say you’re sorry
To admit you didn’t win.

Did you ever need the courage
To lift your head up high
To smile, accept forgiveness
To look into God’s eyes.

Did you ever need the courage
To realize you cannot leave
The heart and mind of God
He’s waiting patiently.

Have courage.

Come. Back. Home.