Skip to Content

How to Be Brave

courage, bravery, midlife, giving birth, women, midlife women, featured, Les Sabines

Last  year, on our trip to Paris, my friend Judy arranged a private tour of the Louvre. Our guide Francois escorted us from room to room, pointing out  the highlights of that mighty museum.

” Voila Les Sabines,” said Francois. “Painted in 1799 by Jacques-Louis David.”

Look at that mother, arms stretched out, protecting her babes. Quel Courage! Never have I experienced such an intense, awestruck reaction to a work of art.

I bought the postcard in the Louvre gift shop. Stateside the next week, I uploaded the photo into WordPress. It’s been sitting there for a year, waiting for some magnificent words to match the painting’s magnificence.

My plan was to say something about courage. Something remarkable.

The remarkable isn’t coming to me, but it’s time to write about Les Sabines and that brave, bold mother.

Years ago, I suffered a second trimester miscarriage. I gave birth to a baby who wouldn’t  become my little girl.

We had moved to North Carolina that spring. Grace Jean, fifteen years my senior, attended our new church. The day I came home from the hospital, she called.

“You’re very brave,” she said.

I’ve never forgotten her words. I bring them back when I need courage.

And so what I have to say about courage isn’t groundbreaking advice; it’s not remarkable.

It’s just this:  When we need it, we have it.


Maybe that human quality is indeed remarkable.

Aging, among other life events, is calling me to be courageous.

I keep Grace Jean’s words and my Les Sabines postcard as courage tokens.

What about  you?

Any tokens of courage you call upon when armies invade?

The Truth about Les Sabines: Turns out I’ve got the story behind this painting wrong.  This is Romulus’s wife Hersilia trying to stop a battle between her husband and father by putting her babes between them. Yikes! Still brave, no doubt,  but I worry one of those babies might get trampled or kicked.  Spoiler Alert: The women succeed and peace prevails!

Read more from Barbara Younger on her blog, Friend for the Ride

Barbara Younger

Barbara Younger's blog, A Friend for the Ride: Encouraging Words for the Menopause Roller Coaster, takes an upbeat look at menopause and midlife. She welcomes guest posts! Shoot her an email at the address on her "About the Blog and Me" page. The author of over twenty books for adults and children, Barbara holds an a MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Barbara lives in a 180-year-old house in the small town of Hillsborough, North Carolina with her husband Cliff and collections of everything from dolls to Golden Books to butter boxes. She's the mother of two grown daughters and grandmother to one adorable baby boy.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Anne @MidlifeBlvd

Saturday 30th of November 2013

Men stupid enough to fight without pants on deserve what they get!

Great post, Barbara. Usually we are called to be brave in awful ways, aren't we.

Barbara Younger

Monday 2nd of December 2013

I like the mother's dress though. She sure looks good in it.

Thanks for your kind words about the post!

Comments are closed.
Read previous post:
Christmas shopping, black friday, gifts, shopping, midlife, midlife women
2013 Holiday Gift Guide from Midlife Boulevard

Holiday Gift Guide for Women Over 50 This is the 2013 holiday gift guide you’ve been waiting for. Peruse at...