I bought two bracelets from the hospital gift shop today.

One said 'Hope'. The other said 'Courage'.

Hope was for me, because I have needed to believe that hope exists in the most fractured of moments lately... and Courage was for Gabe. Or was it for me?

I put courage on one wrist and hope on another and wore them around. I have never pictured myself as someone with a lot of courage. Though I like to think I have goodness in me, I also don't picture myself as a very hopeful person at times. I believe in goodness, I think. Not hope, just goodness.

I believe that the sun will shine tomorrow, and that spring will come after winter feels too long.

But I often find myself very much afraid to hope that tomorrow's flaws will be different from today's. Sometimes I feel like me hoping is selfish, for those who hoped and saw their hopes put out like a candle between your fingers. For those who have felt the singe of putting all their hope into something, and yet, to no avail.

It takes something to hope that I also lack. It takes courage to hope.

Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities... because it is the quality which guarantees all others"

Winston Churchill

I can say, honestly, without a hint of exaggerating, that I feel without courage much of the time. Small and meek. I have found that courage doesn't live within me naturally. It comes only from God, who has grace enough to bestow courage upon me in my weakest moments.

I wrapped the bracelet that said courage around Gabe's wrist, but I know that Gabe doesn't need any more courage than he already has.

He has faced so much in his little year long life on this planet.

But I have faced only the task of watching and hoping and praying for him. How much courage does that take? More than I have.

Today, I saw Gabe doing 'Gabe' things once more. I saw him looking at me, at Daddy, at his nurse, Dane... and I felt him grasp my hand with his tiny little fingers again. I hadn't hoped for this as much as I had dreaded the possibility that it would not happen again.

For the past week, I have been praying out loud for everyone I have said I would pray for. That is a huge deal for me, because praying out loud is something I haven't done in months... And now our Gabe is showing himself to not be a vegetable at all, but still his sweet self.

I don't think it's a coincidence. I think that by praying for others, God has given our Gabe grace.

Courage- such a strange thing that courage leads to so many great things. The courage to pray outloud. The courage to hope.

Thank you, God, for giving us courage when we needed it most, and keeping us quiet when we needed to be quiet.

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