Courage – (wikipedia definition)

Courage is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. Physical courage is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, death, or threat of death, while moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement.

Courage is easy to see. I see it everywhere in my life and those around me. Yesterday I was talking with a friend and we were sharing stories of childbirth. We talked about the place you have to go to in your head in order to birth a child. I had said, “The child is coming one way or another.” It doesn’t seem as though you’d have much choice in that particular situation, but if you were to collect stories from a number of women, you may find that indeed there IS a choice to be made there. Those that proceed willingly, knowing there will be pain, and those that fight it every step of the way.

I see courage in my kids when they get on the school bus for the first time facing fear and uncertainty of what is to come. Courage every time they step up to bat, or attempt to sound out a word. I am humbled by the courage my children display on a daily basis.

I saw courage in my husband every day he went to work as a Union Laborer. He lost at least one personal friend last year to a work site accident, and still he showed up. Every morning I kissed him good-bye I knew in my heart it may be the last time I saw him.

Together we showed courage when we so willingly left our life in the city and all the things we had known for a life here on the farm. Here we face uncertainty and hardship every day. We face the very real possibility of failure and widespread disappointment and shame. Still, we came.

We recently passed the one year anniversary of our big move to Maine and a friend of mine said, “That must have been scary!” As someone who has changed life paths any number of times through career changes and monumental physical moves across country into places unseen, that’s not where my fear manifested itself. I told her the only time I was REALLY scared was when I called the Boston Public School office to release my son’s pre-k spot. A spot we had prayed for and gotten by luck and lottery. Knowing that once I let it go there was no getting it back, I had made the call. That is “acting rightly” in the face of an unknown future.

My SaBumNim (Korean Martial Arts Master) once told me that true courage is not the absence of fear, it is allowing yourself to feel the fear and act anyway. People have often described me as being “fearless.” I’d like to heartily disagree, as I am often overwhelmed with fear in so many areas of my life. What I have is not a “fearless heart” it is a courageous heart. More importantly, I find that courage is contagious. I may never amount to much in my life, but my acting in the face of fear, has inspired many to do the same. Therefore, there is something lacking from the definitions of courage that I find. For me, courage has a lot to do with community. For when I support my children in being courageous, or inspire courage in those around me, I am not only changing myself, but also the world around me and the world yet to come.


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