On Courage

DSC_0380 (2)

Anyone else been feeling a little powerless lately?

If I’m honest, I feel at least a little powerless every day, most often during World News Tonight, but sometimes in the morning on my way to work or during the middle of the night’s tosses and turns. My inability to solve anything, for me or anyone else apparently seems to elbow me most at the top and bottom of a day.

Intellectually, I understand world events, for example, are beyond my control, but what’s to become of us after that basic recognition? What we’re left with is a whole frightening range of feelings to live with and none of them pleasant. No resolution. No control. No hope of changing what feels so far and away out of our reach.

Days tick into nights, weeks pass, and we tuck all those feelings away.  And we move on. Because we must. We may feel a little more frightened or a little less certain, but there’s work to be done and bills to be paid and dinner to make. We live our lives, dream our dreams, and hope for the best.

Until whatever happens next – and these days whatever’s next seems to arrive within days of the last- stirring up panic all over again.

And we feel powerless.

So much in our personal lives makes us feel powerless too. I told a friend recently that some experience, email, event, news, or decision shakes my head in disbelief almost daily. In the past few months, I’ve grieved with a mother who lost her son to a drug overdose, listened to a woman I’ve known for years tell me she has breast cancer, and mourned the death of three 21-year-old men in a car accident.

And after an especially challenging week, what I’ve discovered about myself is my tendency to gather all of these things – and many more heavies – into some sort of metaphorical backpack and shoulder the weight of them day after day. It’s been so hard and hopeless to carry.

Until this Friday morning when I finally and unexpectedly reached some sort of empowering pause … and dropped it all.

I realized I have courage.  And so do you.

We’re all some shade of courageous every day of our lives.

Some days, courage comes just from putting our feet on the floor in the morning and giving the day a go – whatever it may bring.

We can’t control the choices our children make, but we’re  courageous when we parent them in the very best ways we know how.

We find courage while we wait for our loved ones to come home, and some of us bravely face the world each day with a bit of grief for those who will not.

We make up our minds to be strong, courageously and petulantly stamping our feet, and decide: no more, not me, not today.  Whatever the decision, whatever the reason behind it, it takes courage to make it once and for all.

It takes courage to talk truth to ourselves, face to face, without blinking. There’s courage sprinkled all over the words we finally speak aloud when we can no longer hold them in.

There’s courage when we challenge what’s always been with new ideas and philosophies of what should be.

We’re courageous when we try again and again and again. Today, tomorrow, and the next.

Failure be damned.

I’m courageous enough to fight for my own little corner of the world.

And so are you.

This post was inspired by a writing challenge I’m participating in with my mother. We both want to write more, so we’re taking turns offering a prompt to write about. Our first was COURAGE. If you’d like to join in, we’d love to have you. Post a link in the comments.

Dedicated to Liz: who always encourages me to be my truest self and Jim who’s been feeling a little powerless too.

Linking to Emily P. Freeman’s blog.




4 thoughts on “On Courage

  1. it’s a great grace to realize your own courage. Fortitude is a gift from the Holy Spirit, and as you say, we all have shades of it. Some days I feel it more than others.
    My hope is to know that I am the one who can cover it up with my fear, or set it free with my faith. I have a child who was a handful to raise, and I know now that I did the best I could. I felt anything but courageous at the time!



    1. Thank you very much for stopping by. Some days I feel it more than others too. Faith can be so challenging for me, but I’m feeling more and more all the time. I’m sure your child knows your best was the very best.


  2. Well, courage beats powerless any day.

    Yet there’s some things / relationships / situations that we are completely powerless to control. And those things / relationships / situations need to be let go of, often repeatedly. Til we are free to live in that courage.

    And that’s hard stuff, isn’t it …


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s