SNIPPETS: Bravery and friendship

There have been times in Sticky’s life when an important question would flummox him no matter how well he knew the answer; and times he had run away from his problems; and times when he’d felt himself paralyzed when action was most needed. He’d never understood this tendency of his — he knew only that he rarely lived up to expectation, and for this reason had clung so fiercely to his nickname. Any boy with a name like George Washington must surely have great things expected of him.

And yet, in these last days, he’d become friends with people who cared about him, quite above and beyond what was expected of him. With perfect clarity he remembered Reynie saying, “I need you here as a friend.” The effect of those words, and of all his friendships, had grown stronger, and stronger, until — though he couldn’t say why he didn’t feel mixed up now — at the most desperate moment yet, he knew it to be true. There was bravery in him. It only had to be drawn out.

So it was that Sticky stepped in front of Reynie and said, “May I go first, Mr. Curtain? I’ve been looking forward to this ever since my last session.”

The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart

I really like this moment in the story. It’s quite beautiful because this is when Sticky — the boy who ran away, the boy who always felt inferior to his more audacious companions, the boy who wrestled long and hard with fear and cowardice, the boy who felt alone — realizes two very magnificent things: He’s not alone, he has friends who love him and believe in him; and he can be brave. And he acts on that realization by doing something incredibly brave: he volunteers himself for a go with the Whisperer, even though the Whisperer terrifies him, allowing Reynie the few precious seconds necessary to beam a SOS from right under their enemy’s nose. This is Sticky’s hero moment, the moment when he fights the fear rattling in his chest; and not for his own sake, but for the sake of others — his friends, Mr. Benedict’s team on the mainland, and ultimately the world.

I like what this passage says about bravery and friendship: that friendship is something good and powerful, that bravery isn’t measured by the grandness of a person’s gestures, that being brave is impossible without love. It’s so true, all of that. And unfortunately, I find myself forgetting that a lot. I guess I don’t so much as like this passage as I am thankful for it. I’m thankful for the reminder … and also the simultaneous encouragement. Sticky and I are so similar, always feeling cowardly in comparison to our bolder friends, always struggling to be brave. And if he can be brave when bravery is most needed, then so can I.

Readers — What have you been reading lately that has inspired or encouraged you?


4 thoughts on “SNIPPETS: Bravery and friendship”

  1. I’ve been eyeing this book at bookstores, and I’m so glad you reviewed it. I appreciate how you share a specific passage that highlights a theme that is most meaningful to you. I haven’t been able to read much for leisure lately, but my year-long endeavor has been Les Miserables, (and I’m still on page 100 because i keep having to read the beginning over and over again), but so far from the little I’ve read, I’m inspired by Bishop Myriel and his humility. Part I of the novel, it seems, focuses on Bishop Myriel rather than Jean Valjean, maybe to contrast personalities later in the novel, but he is so far an inspiration to regard myself a servant of Christ. hope i’ll be able to finish this novel this year… :)

    p.s. can’t wait till you review the last Harry Potter film! I haven’t watched it yet and I’m curious as to what you thought! do share!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Jeanee! It totally made me smile. :) How great that you’re reading Les Misérables! I have yet to conquer that book — the best I’ve been able to manage is about a third of the book, before I just gave up on it because I was fed up with slogging through the text. I definitely want to re-visit it and eventually finish it. I remember the Bishop and was too struck by his humility as well as his compassion and mercy towards Valjean. I remember being in disbelief when, instead of pressing charges, he covers for Valjean and goes one step further by gifting him with his silver candlesticks. Amazing! I hope you finish the book within your desired time frame, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it!

      Re: Deathly Hallows — Oh, most definitely! Can’t wait to share my thoughts on it! It was a great movie, and I think perfect as the final installment of the series.

  2. A young friend was reading The Mysterious Benedict Society and since I liked the title, I picked it up at the library. I loved the simple writing style and overall simple message. My favorite character was the tall bossy girl (Sue? Karen?).

    Lately I’ve been into nonfiction– The Most Human Human by Brian Christian is my current read. The guy writes about what it means to human in the midst of the Computer Age.

    1. Hi Christina, thanks for dropping by. :) I’m glad you liked the book too, and I like Kate as well! I still chuckle when I think about her bucket and all the stuff she carried around in it.

      I’ve been meaning to get into more nonfiction books this year, but alas I seem to be failing at that endeavor! The book you’re reading, The Most Human Human, sounds very fascinating. I’ll add that to my to-read list.

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