I have longed for thy salvation, O L-RD; and thy Torah is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments. Psalm 119:174-176

11 June 2013

What is Ordinary Courage?

Flower and Honeybee, photo by A. Stahl
Any coward can fight a battle when he’s sure of winning, but give me the man who has pluck to fight when he’s sure of losing. – George Eliot

If you notice the photo above, this is something my husband snapped several years ago, not long before I came to Germany.

You see a lovely honey bee, all covered in beautiful pollen, doing her job harvesting and helping to cross-pollinate, strengthening the genes of future plants.   Often, we do not think of the smaller creatures of our planet as brave, as they are simply "dumb insects".  I believe this dear little bee is indeed courageous for not only doing her job, but by succeeding at it.  She leaves her hive, knowing what dangers she will face - and still does her job every day.

How many other little "bees" do we have in our lives that we often do not consider for their courageousness?

 When I think of ordinary courage:
  • I think of a family member who was confronted with some very immense and heavy news that the gender they always thought they were growing up - is a lot more convoluted than we ever could have imagined and is living life to the best of their ability.
  • I think of a family member who has recently been diagnosed with a disability and many health issues. I watch and hear how all of their friends turn their back on her for many reasons - who still wakes up every morning and attempts to be a light to the nations in spite of what other Christians have done to her personally.
  • I think of my best friend in Alabama who faced cancer and came out on the other side. Where anyone else would have been utterly devastated; She had her stuff together and was a light to everyone in her workplace, at the hospital and in the community. After a bleak prognosis, surgeries and chemo, she went into remission. This past month she found that her newest health issues were no issues at all; but a miracle child!
  • I think of the many wonderful bloggers I'm now coming to know and love who in the face of so many different disadvantages have risen to the occasion and are pushing ever more upwards and higher, as if on eagle's wings.
  • It's ordinary moms and dads who, despite their hangups or upbringing, decide to parent with grace and a simple gentleness that just touches the very heart and soul of their children and their children's circle of friends.
  • It's trusting whatever little seed of faith that you have and giving your all to what is ahead of you whether it ends well or not.
I know that most people would not think of many of these instances as "ordinary", but perhaps "extraordinary" examples.  Maybe they are to you, but to me, these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to courage I have seen every day.

"Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of it." —Mark Twain

 Ordinary courage is sometimes the simple act of getting out of bed to face the day. Perhaps, the act of getting dressed. It may be overcoming your health issues or social anxieties so you can give courage to others.

  Ordinary courage might be described as brushing off bruised and skinned knees or changing bedpans. It might even be hugging a stranger over the internet. It might even be giving some change, coffee, food or necessities to someone in need.

Each of us, in their own brave ways, are acting in spite of our every day fears to overcome the hard things in this world.  It might look different from my perspective to yours, but G-d knows all of those many ordinary acts of courage that we take every day.

Ordinary courage is doing something that is mundane for someone else, but shows the true colors of your heart in the face of fear and acting to give fear a one-two in the puss.  It is allowing G-d to move when you are afraid and unable to go it alone.

"What brought this on?", you might ask.  Well, some wonderful bloggers I know that are participating in a Syncroblog and exploring BrenĂ© Brown's "The Gifts of Imperfection", and TED talks. 

Rather than leave you hanging, wondering what all of this is, I'll share some of the wonderful talks that Brené has made that are available online. It is my hope that her talks may encourage you, with whatever little grain of courage you may have.

You will find all of the other syncrobloggers below:

This Is Courage by Jen Bradbury
Being Vulnerable by Phil Lancaster
How to Become a Flasher by Glenn Hager
Ordinary Courage by Elaine Hansen
Courage, Hope, Generosity by Carol Kuniholm
The Courage to Fail by Wendy McCaig
Sharing One's Heart by K. W. Leslie
All I See Is Rocks by Tim Nichols
Loving Courageously by Doreen A. Mannion