Courage is spoken about, preached about, lectured about, memed about. Our movies and stories illustrate grand acts of courage by heroes. Prince Charming scales a wall, destroys a dragon, and overcomes his downfall to kiss the princess and to show his amazing courage. Or in all too real stories, the woman fighting breast cancer displays her newly shaven head with a thumbs up, a veteran is holding his now prosthetic leg as the result of a tour in Iraq, and even more recently we have the stories of our local heroes – the police officers. These courageous and incredible stories are motivating and encouraging in our world, which often seems so dark and broken.
Courage, however, doesn’t have to be in these grand stories. Many of us never witness or belong to these traumatic events. We are everyday people who get up and work, take care of our families and homes, and try our best. We don’t feel we ever display courage because we haven’t had to yet. Our problems and struggles are nothing compared to what we see scrolling through social media.
Courage does not have to be a grand gesture. Courage is standing up for what you believe in whether big or small. Mary Anne Radmacher says my favorite line about courage, “ Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow’.” Courage is in everyday moments. Its when a child takes his first steps, a teenager sings on stage at her school, a college grad participates in his first interview, a mother quits her job to stay home. We choose to have courage in the little moments even as adults.
However, we tend to mix up courage with other natural human instincts. Courage isn’t telling someone off who pulled in front of you in line at the grocery store. That’s anger. Courage isn’t video taping a run-in with the police. That’s fanning the flame of the dangerous by-stander. Courage isn’t holding in your emotions as a parent when you’re crushed and you don’t want your child to see you cry or apologize. That’s pride. Courage is telling your dear friend that you won’t participate in the gossip about another friend. It is walking out of your comfort zone and trying something new even if it’s as simple as a new recipe or to begin exercising. Courage is asking your spouse to pray with you even though you haven’t in years…or even at all.
We all know the opposite of courage, a coward. I don’t want to be known as a coward. When we become idle because of fear, fear of judgment, fear of failure…that’s being a coward. Let’s take a baby step of courage today.