I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about what it means to be brave. When we are children, being brave and bold can start with sliding down the big slide on the playground for the first time, or finally taking that dive into the deep end of the pool during a sweltering summer day. Sometimes we walk over to a new face we did not previously know, and that figment becomes a fast friend. Being brave is tangible and often immediate when we are young and eager.
If we are lucky enough, we inevitably grow up a bit. Responsibilities, routines, and other facts of adult life can bog down the thrill that comes with being brave and bold. When one is tied to a desk for 40 hours in a week, it is often difficult to match the sensation of riding your bike down that big hill you were always warned about by the old people when you were 10.
While pondering bravery and boldness as an adult, I immediately found my mind wandering to parshah Lech-Lecha (which is not the Torah portion for this week). I thought of how G-d told Abram (later to be Abraham) to leave his father’s house, and go to a land that He would show him. Abram, his wife Sarai (later Sarah), and nephew Lot, picked up and left on a new and unknowable journey. Lech-Lecha can be translated to “go” or “leave.” G-d told Abram to make a change, and Abram listened. One of the more impressive details of the parshah is that Abram was not a spring chicken by any stretch when he made this massive life change. He was 75-years-old. Abram displayed a tremendous amount of bravery and boldness at an advanced age.
How one interprets the message of this Torah portion is largely dependent upon how one interprets Torah in a more macro sense. Did Abram hear the literal voice of G-d, or was G-d the urge or push that lived inside of Abram at this time in his life? Was he answering a Divine call to action from within himself?
Don’t we all have a little voice inside of us that guides us through decisions–whether they be daily minutiae or larger life-changers? Abram’s willingness to heed the call can inspire us as adults to maintain that thrilling bravery that can sometimes vanish in tandem with our own perceptions of youth. It is never too late to change your life. Are you happy doing what you are doing? Have you always wanted to try something–travel somewhere–do something–be something? There are so many roadblocks that we can create, and there certainly always exist a sundry of reasons not to try something. We might not all change from Abram to Abraham (“The Father of Many Nations”), but regret is much worse than failure. It is certainly better to try and fail than never to try at all.
If you take one thing from this short post, I wish it to be this: I hope you will listen to the divinity or spark–the eternal light that lives inside of you. Heed the call of your own soul. It is simply never too late to be everything that you have ever dreamed of and more.
In other words, be brave–Lech-Lecha!