There are so many things in life that take nothing but courage. And courage is not ‘nothing’ it is everything. Because without courage than you may have nothing. Or you may settle. Or you may never know what it is you could have had or all the places you could of explored or all of the things you could have done.
Courage is not something you use just in the face of danger. Courage is something you use in the face of life.
I talked to a man the other day, who at the age of 18, left his home country. Left his family and friends and everything he knew. And he came to America. There was no safety net for him here. There was no one here to hold his hand and guide him through. He came here and made a life for himself. For those of us who have never left the world we know to experience a world we do not know I don’t think we can quite fathom the courage that takes.
I remember one of my younger brothers, when he was about ten or twelve, sitting in a room of some adults and myself. The adults were saying something that was over our heads. But one of them said something that got his attention and he asked them what it meant. I don’t even remember what they were talking about or what the words were he asked about. But I remember the incident because I was in awe of my little brother admitting he didn’t know something and then asking someone to explain. Then, years later, my father in law did the same thing as an adult. This time it was me talking about something and he was much older than I. He stopped me and asked me to explain what one of the words I said, meant. I was so impressed by him admitting that he didn’t understand something. Both my little brother and my father in law showed courage. I think it takes courage to speak up and tell an assuming “audience” they don’t know what something means, and ask for explanation. Maybe I find it courageous because I couldn’t do it in many incidents. I feared looking ignorant. Yet I was more ignorant by not having the courage to ask.
It never occurred to me when I was younger and starting my own family that courage was needed. As a young adult never having birthed and raised a child it takes a tremendous amount of courage to do just that. No matter how much you explain it to a woman, having a child is unexplainable. When you have one, you understand that. But not knowing what your body is going to undertake you get pregnant and eventually give birth. It takes an incredible amount of courage to do that. And then, to do it again knowing what you are going to go through, courage. Then the lifetime commitment to love and provide for this child will take courage time and time again. Not knowing everything you will face. Not knowing half of what you need to know when you start along this path but doing it. Courage.
Then, while raising this child you have to learn to let go, little by little. Eventually letting this child turn in to an adult and be on their own. Talk about courage!
I’ve watched as people have walked away from jobs that gave them security but no satisfaction. They leave something that pays to try something they feel they should be doing. What kind of courage does it take to do this? To leave what you know, leave what gives you food and shelter to start on a journey that you don’t know where it will take you, if it will provide for you, and what it will take from you.
There are many people who we respect for their courage every day. The courage it takes for a policeman to start his or her shift every day. Not knowing what unpredictable stressor is waiting out there that they need to protect the rest of us from. The courage for a fireman/firewoman to enter in to unknown territory that is on fire. Trying to save people and save homes. Persons who sign up for the military knowing they’ve given up a huge amount of control over their own decision making in order to serve their country. Courage and sacrifice. Some courage is obvious. Deservedly so.
Then there is the less seen courage. The certain amount of courage it takes just to get up and walk out in to this world. We don’t know what each day will bring us. We don’t know what others will expect of us. We don’t know what we are or are not capable of until something presents its self to us. And we just don’t know what will be presented to us.
I am in awe of the courage I see every day. From so many people. It takes courage sometimes just to open our eyes not knowing what we will see.