When someone speaks the words “Courage” and “Conviction” into the box of a theater, those words scare. Those words boom out all capitalized. Those words capture and amplify. Those words throw down a challenge.
Author Gabe Lyons brought the conviction at a Thinkers and Makers talk last night, asking his captive audience to consider whether our attempts at courage might actually be the wimpier cousin, bravado–that courageous quality that’s never really ready to stand up to the hard stuff in life–or if our attempts are true Courage–the kind you can scratch and sniff over and over and never get stale–and come rooted in our Conviction.
After the microphones and presentations and screens and folding chairs were behind us for the evening, a table spread before us for the late night hours. A table with plates and wine glasses and napkins and chairs that were occupied by friendships circling the table with decades of shared history, memory, and laughter.
Inspired by Anna Watson Carl, author of The Yellow Table Cookbook, we created a new layer of connection last night as we passed the crostini, pizza, ravioli, and wine bottles. By the end of the evening, we were the good enough sort of friends that we were passing spoons and sampling one another’s gelato, exclaming over the smoked chocolate (tasted like kielbasa) and honey chèvre (tasted like, well, goat.)
There’s a certain Courage we gain from the elbows bumping us on either side of a dinner table. A courage and readiness to share ourselves and share the basket of bread. It’s a courage and friendship that can unfold as simply as the napkin we place in our lap. Sometimes Conviction comes in big, booming microphoned messages. Sometimes it comes on the tip of a spoon that pauses as we listen–really listen–to the friend across the table.
When you add Communion to the list of Courage and Conviction, all three words scare, but they also thrill with promise. And after last night’s delicious five-course meal at Piccolo Forno, I’m ready to add Crostini to that capital C list as well.