Friday, April 1, 2016

April 1, 2016 - On Courage


More needs to be said about courage.  Although I have talked about it before, it begs for reiteration and expansion.  This is because courage is the thing lacking the most in our society today, and because it is so rare, it is as priceless as the most precious of gems.  But even if courage were common, as it was at an earlier time in our history, each act of it would still be worth more than a thousand rubies.

Courage is the ability to face what frightens you.  It is the ability to look fear square in the eyes and continue on anyway.  Courage is the ability to stand up to sorrow and pain.  Courage is standing firm against danger and difficulty.  Courage is perseverance and mental stamina.  It is drawing a line in the sand and then defending that line.

Drawing the line.

Courage is not about being right; it is about doing right.  These two are often confused.  Courage is not about being reckless but about weighing the risks and taking them anyway in order to preserve integrity.  Courage is a kind of morality, and religion is not necessarily needed to be courageous, but morals are.  Courage is refusing to back down, even if you think you might lose (even if you know you will lose).

But it is rare today.  There was a time when people had more courage, when they were raised to hold the idea of courage as a lofty and excellent goal to pursue.  They were still afraid and faced many fears and terrors, but they had courage on their side.  They controlled their fear.  Sometimes they lost and sometimes they won, but either way they were courageous.

When we see someone stand tall against an onslaught, we have a deep respect for that person.  When we see someone face fear and terror and pain (the kind that mortally wounds our bodies, not our egos), we have a reverence for that person.  Should the person die in the process of being courageous, he or she is immediately elevated to the status of martyr.  The person catapults from an ordinary man or woman to an instant hero, not because death is admirable but because life lived in sniveling fear is not worth living at all.

But it is rare today.  It is buried in political correctness, in the love of money, and in a glut of creature comforts.  It is buried in mediocrity and in settling for less.  It sleeps because there are not many people left who can directly display it as an example to others.  More often, it is something we only read about if we have the time amongst our many distractions and glitter-covered entertainments.

Yet each of us possesses the ability to be courageous.  Each of us can stand tall, confident in our decisions and in what we believe and support.  Like a rusty chain, we can clean off the links of courage one by one and then oil them with our convictions.  Remember:  It is not about being right but about doing right, and often that means heading in the opposite direction of most of society.

Stand tall.  Take comfort in righteousness even in the face of ridicule.  Do what you are afraid to do.  Be courageous.  Be the stuff that future generations will only dream about.

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