Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I just want to take a moment to write about courage.

Firefighters have so much courage, that they run into flaming buildings to rescue the life otherwise trapped inside. While many of us don't face such literal life-and-death risks each day, we do constantly exercise courage.

Little kids who are learning to walk keep losing their balance, and falling over and over and over again. Imagine having no sense of how to control your limbs, and yet repeatedly trying to rise to your feet. (You did it, once. Don't forget.)

You go into work each day, knowing there are people who will contradict you, who seem - perhaps - not to have your best interests in mind. Yet, your career and your ability to earn a living are important to you. You go in anyway, not waiting for a sense of well-being, but rather increasing your own tolerance of the situation by exposing yourself to it, and finding your sense of well-being in the process.

Couples show up to their relationships each day, wondering if some wound will be exposed, if words will strike the other in away that stings or reminds of childhood scars. Yet, they keep re-committing to each other, with every laugh, with every kiss, with every touch - they know that the reward is not some perfect relationship at the end of the tunnel, but rather the glimpse right now of a connection to another soul despite one's fears.

I am often coming up with new and bigger projects for myself to complete, and when I do, I always think, "How am I ever going to sustain the courage to do this?" I have never been able to answer myself before something drives me forward, makes me do it anyway. Courage, I find, has nothing to do with overcoming one's fears in preparation for action - rather, it's being afraid and taking the action anyway.

Recently, I took a public speaking class at the Open Center, and the entire class revolved around this principle: that we were not going to get up there to speak and NOT feel nervous, but we would get up there feeling nervous and still be able to speak.

I think it's the things that we care about most that make us nervous. Maybe there are more things that we should just do anyway, in spite of our fears. Maybe we should speak our mind, especially when we think our voice will break. Maybe we are exactly like the firefighter, running into the world each day, desperate to bring a sense of hope by speaking our truth.

My truth is my faith in the human spirit. I know that every person is capable of amazing things, beyond their wildest dreams. I know this because I live it. With frequency, I ask myself to face my fears, and over and over, I find - to my own utter amazement - that I am capable of doing just that.

1 comment:

Leenya Rideout said...

I liked what you said about increasing your tolerance by facing your courage. An interesting vantage point, I think.