What does bravery look like?

I just did something so brave.
In fact, I almost chickened-out before I followed through.
I sat in the chair and thought about it
and gave myself one deadline after another.
“When she comes back, I’ll get up.”
“When it’s 10:30, I’ll go over there.”
“When the receptionist comes back from downstairs, I’m going to talk to her.”
It’s just crazy how I try so hard
to keep from making anyone upset.

I made an appointment to have my eyes checked. I was so excited! I lost my glasses a year ago September. I don’t have really bad vision, but I have trouble crisply seeing things far away (like road signs in the far distance or movie screens) or some things close-up. I have trouble threading a needle or reading super-small print.

I have no vision insurance, so I had to shop around for the best price. And I don’t like to drive far from home since every trip 10 miles from home …. means I am using a gallon of gas to travel (if I get 20 mpg). It adds up .. and I try to be super-thrifty. I just don’t have money to wastefully toss away.

After a year of putting off making an appointment, I finally made one with a vision center that is fairly near my house. The cost for my appointment would be half that of my old optometrist and about ten miles closer to my home, so I was pleased.

But, when I got in the office and signed in, I waited for at least ten minutes before mentioning, “I could be filling out my paperwork to get things moving, if you’d like?” I heard, “Oh, are you a new patient?” I was one minute late for my 9:40 appointment, but I thought that was still okay. Nobody seemed to notice.

As I filled out paperwork, I overheard a conversation by a disgruntled patient who told the receptionist she was tired of waiting. She waited at least an hour every.time.she.visited. And her glasses were filled with the wrong prescription over five weeks ago and they still hadn’t fixed the situation. She had spent $1,500. but basically gotten nothing in return.

Time ticked by.

10:00 came and went.

Sometime shortly after 10:00, I overheard that there were six patients waiting … and I knew I was at the end of that list.

10:15 …. and I began to think, “I should just leave. If I do get called back now, I won’t make it to my noon appointment with someone else. I really can’t keep waiting.”

I wrestled with all those thoughts about walking out:
I didn’t want to be confrontational …
What if I was charged anyway for the appointment I skipped?
What would happen when I ran into the girl at Kroger?
Would she remember me as “that bitch customer?”

Then I thought about friends who are brave.
And about Glory, James and Joy who are super brave.

I thought about Heather who shared a super-tough blogpost
(that you can read here) after months and months and months
of very sporadic blogging. She was avoiding telling the truth.
You see, she did the brave thing in her marriage.
She took her four young children
and walked away from her husband
because she needed to … because she had to …
because she needed to stop being the martyr.
She needed to leave the toxic marriage .
She needed to do what her gut said was right.
She did the brave thing!
::trembles:: she.is.my.hero.

I sat there in the doctor’s office and thought about my heroes
and how they do the tough stuff.
I thought about how silly and insignificant it would be
in the realm of world events
or in someone else’s eyes ….
for me to call myself brave to talk to the receptionist
and tell her I would be leaving before my appointment ..
but I did it anyway.

At 10:29, I walked up to the desk and said,
“I’ve been waiting for over 45 minutes. I don’t have time to continue to wait to be seen.
I have to be somewhere at noon. I’m afraid I am going to have to leave.”

She tried to get me to reschedule.
But, I politely declined and left.

And it might not seem like much to you,
but it was such a big deal for me.
I told someone “No.”
There is value in my time and I claimed it as mine.
I couldn’t be late for my next appointment.
And I was uncomfortable in the office.
They didn’t recognize that I was a new client.
Others had waited for quite a long time
and been given poor service.
I did a brave thing.
I walked away.

It is a practice.
It doesn’t come easily.
But, I will continue to exercise my strength
in taking up for myself in small things
so that I can do a better job … a good job
in the big things.

What does bravery look like to you?
Do you struggle?
What are the difficult areas for you to be strong?

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