cour•age – noun \ˈkər-ij, ˈkə-rij\
Merriam-Webster’s Definition of COURAGE
: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
Courage: I have a few things to say about courage. I don’t believe it is the way so many of us see it. The way it is presented to us in the movies or on TV. I don’t believe that courage has to be a loud thing, a fierce thing, a big thing. I think courage can be a small voice, a subtle thing, a quiet moment. Sometimes courage can go by un-noticed by all but the person who holds it.
Experience tells me that courage is one of those things in life that grows the more you use it. That it becomes easier and easier to tap into it once we start to exercise it. I think all of us are born with a dose of it poured right into our hearts, but for some reason some of us lose it. Like a tiny smoldering coal it can be fanned into flame and burn so brightly, or it can be rained on, or perhaps neglected and just go out. Sometimes courage shows itself as great feats of heroism. Sometimes it is just the ability to get up every morning and carry on with living.
Courage is kind, loving and compassionate; not hard, cold or withholding. Sometimes a hard heart can be perceived as a courageous heart, but courage is willing to take risks that involve the possibility of getting hurt. Just as it is not the absence of fear (that could be defined as stupidity), but rather the ability to move past fear and carry on in the face of it.
To me courage is strength of character and moral conviction. It is the ability to take the worst of circumstances and still be able to see the silver lining; to be able to navigate through the dark. To be able look at life when it knocks you down and rather than crying about how badly it stinks, saying “I am gonna take this shit, and use it as fertilizer”. The courageous choose to learn from the situation.
Whatever it is we face each day, it takes courage to carry on. Perhaps finances we were desperately counting on don’t arrive. Or we are faced with having to claim bankruptcy. Or we find ourselves having to stand alone in our convictions. Or maybe we lose someone very dear to us because they have passed away, or packed their bags and walked out the door. Or we are handed the dreaded diagnosis. Or, or, or… so many ors. But whatever befalls us, no matter how small or large it may seem, when it changes our world, stretches our comfort zone, makes us have to face our fears; it is courage that sees us through it. As Eleanor Roosevelt so wisely said:
“Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.”
Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn By Living, 1960