I recently heard the term ‘dare boldly’. I like the sense of bravery and determination that those two words paint. I have two nieces, Abbey and Tess, who are young adults now. They ‘dare boldly’ in their endeavours, as they have done since they were kids and they are loved for it.
Abbey, as the firstborn of the two, dared to be the trailblazer. As a child, her goal was to be the centre of attention, and it didn’t take much – a few words, a laugh and a smile pretty well won us over instantly. We weren’t a tough audience.
If Abbey was the master attention seeker, then Tess was the master’s apprentice. What Abbey did, Tess did. Now Abbey is four years Tess’ senior, and as such was always a few steps further advanced in her physical and mental development. This was apparent, understandable and perfectly acceptable to everyone – except Tess. To her, if Abbey could do it, then she would do the same. And inability, common sense or parents weren’t going to stand in her way.
This led to quite the comedy act at times.
I remember Christmas 2004, at Mum and Dad’s farm in Tarrawingee. It had been very hot and dry, and we spent Boxing Day in the back yard with the kids playing under the sprinkler to cool off. Now Abbey, at six years of age, had a game plan. She would time her run to dodge the sprinkler blast as best she could. There was much frivolity as she would duck, dodge and dance across the yard.
Tess, at two years of age, had a much simpler strategy. Copy Abbey. “I need to run over there. Not sure why, but Abbey did it. OK, let’s go”
Tess would then set off and run past the sprinkler, get the timing all wrong, cop a blast of water to the side of her head, trip over her feet, faceplant, then check us to see how she should react, get up and run to Abbey. And all the while, completely deadpan. “OK, done. Not sure why I did that, but it must have been fun. What’s next?” She was hilarious and determined and tireless.
When Tess was around eight, we went on a family bike ride. I was doing a longer training ride, and my brother-in-law Colin was to meet me at Beechworth for the final 25km leg home to Tarrawingee. Abbey wanted to join in and given she had been riding a while we agreed. Tess had only just got her first full-sized bike, and she decided she was coming too. No-one could deter her.
We figured Tess wouldn’t last too long, given it was her first decent ride on a big bike and she was really shaky on it. So we planned to ride as a pack of four until Tess got tired, and then we would call my sister Sharyn to come and pick her up. Now that was the plan but we forgot to tell Tess. She fixed her gaze on the horizon and she was off. Sharyn never got a phone call. In an effort that would have done Cadel Evans proud, Tess turned those pedals all the way to Tarrawingee. As we passed the speed limit sign into town, Colin and I joked with her that she needed to slow to 60 km/h. She just ignored us and kept pedalling. And that is Tess. Quiet, committed, determined. Has faith in those around her. Not afraid to front up to a trial.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” – James 1:2-3
Tess recently told me that she really enjoyed that first ride, and it has grown into a passion for cycling. She found it hard going, but she also learnt the value of challenging herself and taking pride in a job well done. Abbey is now at university and Tess is doing VCE, and both are acquitting themselves well. It is a pleasure to see them daring boldly in their endeavours, and remaining steadfast under trial. I can imagine God smiling upon them.
SONG: I Will Run To You by Hillsong – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLryVIr9B0Q