A few years ago I shared the blogpost “We don’t live Fearless.

After a short rant about the grammatically correct way to use “fearless,” as opposed to “fearlessly,” I dove into the crux of the matter, which is:

Should life be lived without fear? What good is living a life without fear? Fear is a powerful signal. Sometimes it’s a warning of what we need to avoid; sometimes it’s a warning to prepare. Yes, fear has its place.

I’m not a big pursuer of fear. For example, I don’t like scary movies because I don’t like being afraid. I assume other people like being afraid because of the feeling of relief at the end, the satisfaction of coming out the other side. I recognize its value, but I don’t go out looking for ways to be afraid.

I was thinking about this on my drive home from work yesterday because the song “Fearless” played. I smiled, remembering this awesome fan-club video from 2020 that includes our Marcus, tearing up the labels, as it were.

(Click to Youtube to watch if the video doesn’t show.)

NOW – BACK TO THE WORD: FEARLESS. 

In thinking about it, I realized that the word is fear-less. Not fear-not. And that is a bit of what we’re going for. Do what scares you then, next time perhaps, you (I) will fear-less. Then I thought, it’s not a hyphenated word – it’s one word and as one word it is defined differently. The definition of “fearless” first says “without fear.” Ok, not fear less – but fear not. But the second definition is brave or bold.

Well, that’s completely different! There is no need to be brave if you lived without fear.

Brave is facing fear. I imagine that being fearless, under the definition of living without fear, actually feels a little empty. Bored even. When the dragon is slayed – if it was done without fear, where is the victory? Brave, however, brave is honest. Brave is full. The aftermath of bravery isn’t thrilling, it’s content. It’s a rest well deserved. Bravery leads to growth and pride, self-assurance and relief.

Brave is a point word for Marcus.

Like anyone, there are challenges that feel insurmountable. There are places, internally and externally, it is hard for him to go. At some point over the years, the term brave came into the conversation, and he related, connected.

He knows what fear feels like. He knows it is not easy or a given to be brave. Sometimes we must talk ourselves into…whatever it is, encourage ourselves to go for it, or sometimes we just have to face (the thing). That is brave. You may recall when I shared how at one of our school events Marcus chose this as a key point to tell the kids: “Be Brave.” 

Fearless is not the same as courage.  And courage, as it happens, is my “word of the year” for 2023. Courage to face forward, to recover, courage to live, really.

On the drive home, the next song that popped up was “Unwritten.”

“Staring at the blank page before you – ”

Ah Universe, well played.

So many blank pages.

Courage to reopen ourselves to the world, to write about The. Big. Important. Scary. (and also boring) Things.

Just putting my toes in today, the rest is still unwritten.