There's been a lot of talk about courage these days, and it made me think about a few things. First of all, I decided to ditch my last blog post--I am dismayed that I ever weighed in on the whole Jenner/Kardashian issue, mainly because I believe that sort of thing is a private matter, not one for public exploitation or ridicule or anything else.
That being said, this caused me to consider what courage truly is. Technically, one could define courage as action in the face of fear or sorrow or grief. Conquering ones fear of heights, for example, takes courage. Overcoming an addiction also takes courage, as does living with a condition or disability that might draw unwanted attention. Those living with the terrible aftereffects of burns, for example, exhibit tremendous courage, knowing people might turn away or ask uncomfortable questions. I admire burn survivors because so many of them, health permitting, just get on with life.
To me, that is far different from daring, which is boldness, but not necessarily courage. Maybe that's nitpicking, but I do see a different. Granted, the world needs daring! We need bold leaders who are unafraid to be themselves and to forge new trails for the rest of us. St. John Paul II or Mother Teresa or St. John of the Cross are examples of daring--they followed the Holy Spirit and blazed new trails for the Church and for humanity, bringing about incredible change and hope and grace. If we didn't have the daring of those who saw a need and acted on it, where would we be today?
I included a picture of retired Phoenix police officer Jason Schechterle, who was burned over 40% of his body after a devastating accident while he was on duty. His journey back to life never ceases to amaze and hearten me because of the courage it must take for him on a daily basis, not only to face a judgmental world but also, to forge ahead with life and being able to set aside what he's lost, despite his current success as a motivational speaker. Courage is also defined by the late Talia Castellano, a beautiful little girl who passed away recently at the age of just 13. Talia had lived with cancer for six years, and for the last two years of her life, Talia faced down the ravages of the disease by exploring the world of makeup and beauty. She was able to face the world with her head held high because she had the courage to reach out to others in the midst of her own suffering.
Courage means different things to different people, but what truly defines living with courage is that you press ahead with life, no matter what is going on or what people might say or whether people gossip about you or stare or ask odd questions. Courage means meeting those demons and stomping on their ugly heads, even if it hurts, and even if you are filled with fear or pain. I'm grateful for those who do live with courage and daring because that gives me the inspiration that I need to do the same, especially on those days when I'd rather shut off the alarm and go back to bed.
God bless them all!
Witty; cunning; crafty
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