Personal Growth Stories.
People have their own ideas about courage.
This is one of mine. People careening down wild mountain trails full bore - the delicate balance between hell-bent-for-leather and careful optimism.
We have one of these trail systems near us. I have friends who live for this. I don't.
But courage - real courage - is other things as well. Friends who take on formidable surgeries with uncertain outcomes. People who love and take a chance. Actors who act despite the resident nervousness and fear.
They tremble and then head for the footlights.
Fear is ever with us. Even the great ones, I'm told, surprisingly must deal with its icy finger.
And maybe that's part of the secret. Knowing we are not alone. Knowing others share this burden when we come alive in the world.
We must meet it along the road. Pushing it away only strengthens its hold. It lives in the shadows. In the unacknowledged places of our lives.
Courage draws us into those sacred confines of the spirit. We pay attention to. We listen. We wait for the distant wound to surface. We wait with patience and love for the seed when fear first arrived.
Courage is a waiting game. We find the ache and wait through its terror. For the moment, we are safe.
But courage also asks the question: What if we don't do the thing we are asking for? What if the tender line is never shared with an audience? What if the word that has been breathed into you fails because it is unknown how others will receive it?
What if love never flourishes because the goblins of rejection and hesitancy run ahead? What then?
Sometimes fear rules - and it can be a reasonable fear that yields all sorts of information. I check out a rapid on shore before I am bound in its current that I can no longer manage. It is fear or caution that has kept me safe.
But more often, fear is an elusive ghost that is overzealous to protect me. It wrestles with my hopes and douses them with buckets of premonition that seem so real.
For moments, I become my fear. It can linger into days and even a lifetime. But it can also be teased at the edges.
We can do something brave today - and assess the results.
We can try and fail - with something small - and see if it is the end of our days.
We can whisper the word of glory we have received quietly to our mind, and see if all the world falls in.
Your uniqueness is that such a word comes perhaps only to you. You are its bearer - its originator. For some reason, you bear its burden.
And it often seems that it is not to genius that such a fiery brand is given but to the ordinary. The one who feels they are entirely not up to the task. The one who recoils at its enormity.
They need our encouragement. We need to fortify our courage knowing that the world needs this task to be done.
And that the unlikeliest of persons have been chosen to do it.
And let the chips fall where they may.
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