No one knows what the body can do. -Spinoza

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

30 Day: Why I Love Day 17: Jenna

why i love jenna of the maui waves, by lily-elaine hawk wakawaka

image found

two of the characteristics i admire most in other people are open-heartedness, and courage, or bravery. i've been lucky enough to get to witness both these traits in my friend jenna.

we met in a philosophy class on relationships during jenna's first full year at the university here. gratefully the class allowed time for connection beyond the typical class discussion, and in the midst of that extra interaction jenna struck me as a caring person both in terms of putting care into whatever she does, and in terms of caring for others. she took time to make sure she understood her studies, and she also cared deeply about how others were managing their workload, and their feelings too. this year i've gotten to interact with her in more social settings totally outside of the campus environ and have been blessed to see more of these very traits i mentioned at the opening of this post.

in jenna's upcoming life she is getting to extend her studies to an exchange program in western europe. the experience is significant and new for her as she will be abroad for at least 6-months and as a result also geographically removed from everyone she is close to. having gotten to see jenna as she prepares for her adventure has been touching in that both those characteristics --open heartedness and bravery-- are clearly showing through her.

though it may seem an unlikely source, the disney movie PRINCESS DIARIES has the following insight on bravery. courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. jenna has been honest that in the face of the remarkable life change she is experiencing great nervousness. she has said she is scared and has even felt trouble breathing at times anticipating it. but she's also made it clear that this trip is something she is going to do. in the midst of all her worries about the newness of the experience i have never heard her express a question of whether she will go or not--she is simply clear that what she is doing is important, and what is important deserves a kind of nervous reverence. in fact, nervous reverence seems, in my mind, to most clearly reflect a profound awareness of the very idea that what she is doing is important. i admire her ability to live fully through that sort of vulnerability and in doing so authentically celebrate the presence and effect of her own life choices.

in the midst of her plans, jenna has also taken great care to connect with her friends and loved ones, to share with them her feelings, to be open to their thoughts and suggestions, and even more beautifully, to be open to the discovery of what all of this will bring into her life--a newness that cannot be predicted. in this way, she's shown a remarkable openness to her own life that i feel blessed to be witness to. i know she blesses others in her life too by her open hearted example.

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