C is for Courage
Courage comes in many forms. The older I get, the more I’ve come to appreciate courage of the non-adrenaline kind.
Courage of the non-adrenaline kind is courage of the no-illusions kind- it means that you are aware from the beginning what you are facing. It’s the kind of courage you need when the trouble you are facing is lasting- not just for days or weeks, but years- sometimes an entire lifetime.
It’s the courage you use to get up and face the day when a loved one you’ve depended on isn’t going to be there, knowing full well that they won’t be there the next day either, or the next, or the ones after that.
It’s the courage you use when each day you wake you know you are going to hurt and there is little that others can do to ease that pain, and yet you try to use that day to help ease someone else’s suffering.
It’s the courage and resolve behind every life decision based on the realization that even though you cannot always prevent others from hurting you, you are not obligated to allow that hurt to become an excuse for you to hurt someone else.
It’s the courage that is necessary to make changes that are hard, when the chances of slipping back into old habits are great. It’s the courage behind making those changes again and again as often as necessary until your actions reflect your deepest and most cherished beliefs each and every day.
Courage of the non-adrenaline kind tends towards the unglamorous, tedious, pedestrian, slow- often wending its way towards its final destination in a series of infinitesimally small and infuriating steps. It demands patience and faith when patience and faith are already in short supply.
What makes a meaningful life?
I’d venture to say that most often it’s the hard parts- the one’s you don’t think you’ll survive- at least not with your heart intact, and guess what? You don’t, because what makes life meaningful are all the parts of you you give away.
There is a scripture that talks about the greatest love being the kind of love where you are willing to lay down your life for your friends. A few people do this in dramatic and beautiful ways. You see this in fires, floods, accidents, and war when one person risks or gives their life for another. Few of us will give our lives in this way because, for most of us, we don’t give our lives in an instant, we do it day by day in little ways over a period of years, even decades.
We do it when we share our time, our knowledge, and our talents with others; when we put people above things; and when we exchange behaviors that are debasing for habits and lifestyles that ennoble and empower us and everyone else whose lives we touch.
It means that every day we give others the best that is within us, while laying down what is unworthy of us along the way.
Whether we give our lives out of love in a span of years or a moment, it will require courage and sacrifice. For most of us, the courage required to make that happen will be of the non-adrenaline kind.
This post is part of ABC Wednesday.