This I Believe

Molly - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on October 7, 2007

Brave Little Souls

Do you ever sit and wonder at the grass that grows out from the cracks in the sidewalk pavement? It’s an amazing sight really, to see these few blades of grass pushing with all their might to get through the pavement, to keep from getting stomped on, to take root and GROW for goodness sake!

My grandmother called these phenomenons “brave little souls”. I remember walking down the street, holding my Nana’s hand, and having her say, “Careful! Don’t step on the brave little souls!” I always thought this was a funny sentiment. I mean, it wasn’t as if my not stepping on the sidewalk grass was going to insure their survival. Surely, the person coming up behind me was as unconcerned for the brave little souls as they were with the weather in Russia. But this didn’t seem to matter to Nana. When I would question why we had to be so careful when others were not, she would just smile her crooked grin and say, “We have to set the example. We can’t protect the brave little souls all the time but we can look at them and do our best not to hurt them and hope others do the same”.

I moved to Chicago from Indiana recently. Maybe moving to Chicago, where green things are harder to come by, has given me more of an appreciation for the brave little souls than I had at my grandmother’s side. And maybe, I am finally starting to get the connection between these sidewalk heroes and those around me.

As human beings, we are always pushing with all our might simply to get through the day. Everyday situations can sometimes feel like a wall of cement, and when we see the smallest crack in the wall, we have to push and push and push to see some light. As human beings, we are always trying to protect ourselves from getting stomped on. Hearts are precious things and must be guarded. The problem is that by reaching for the light, we throw ourselves onto the footpath of the carelessness of others. As human beings, we are forever wanting to take root and grow (for goodness sake!). But there are becoming fewer and fewer places where one can firmly plant one’s roots, safely and securely. As human beings, we should set the example for others. We cannot protect the ones we love all the time. We cannot protect ourselves or, in fact, anyone all the time. But we can look at one another. We can do our very best not to hurt each other. And we can hope for others to do the same. We can do that.

We are brave little souls, needing nurturing and caring.