Orange "Courage" silicone message bands. Photo by Jennifer Willis, 2019.

and sometimes, just like that, courage appears

A little over a week ago, I was doing some deep thinking about my work and my life in general. Without going into too much detail, I was considering making some major changes, including walking away from something I love but in which I was finding myself increasingly stymied. I ended up reminding myself that everything is an experiment, and experiments of any size can and should be retooled. I can take a break if I need to, and I can scrap everything and start again — whether that’s my writing, my job, my health, and/or everything else. It was reassuring in that foundation-rattling kind of way, which is to say that things were pretty uncomfortable.

That same weekend, I was sweeping the hallway and discovered a silicone message band sitting on the floor. “Courage,” it told me. I picked it up and set it aside. I’d deal with it later.

Several years ago, when Pierre the cat was perhaps one or two years old, he took a fancy to my laptop’s power cord. He liked to munch on it, which was a dangerous problem. At the suggestion of an Apple employee manning the Genius Bar, I bought a bag of about two dozen silicone bracelets and scattered a few of them around the house. They were yellow and orange and pink and carried message of Hope, Courage, Love, and the like. The idea was that if Pierre liked sinking his teeth into things, the bracelets would be more appealing than the power cords. I never did see him chewing on any of the bracelets, but he did give up his taste for power cords. After a while, I gathered up the bracelets (including the ones that had never left the bag) and donated them, or something.

Apparently I missed a couple of them, because years later, suddenly Courage was here waiting for me in the hallway. Oddly, I discovered a second orange Courage band just a few hours later on my office floor. My guess is that Miss Mimi Cat was scampering about the house, as she frequently does, and dug these two bracelets out from deep recesses unknown, where they’d been sitting undisturbed for several years. She’d found two of them — both Courage — in the space of a few hours, at a time when I needed that particular bolstering.

When I found the second Courage band waiting for me, I picked it up, added it to the first one, and started wearing them. I’m keeping my eye out for a third band, but I’ve not seen one yet.

Posted in thoughts from the spiral.

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