Courage rarely roars, actually. Not true courage, at any rate. Often, true courage is not seen by anyone but those closest to the courageous. True courage can be found in the small, the meek – it lives in the lady next to you on the bus perhaps, it may be lying in wait, to be discovered hidden behind the cubicle next to you, at work.
I meet with courage every working day. It is manifest in a woman who comes to the office, gives her 110% with little recognition, while at home, her husband is terminally ill with cancer. She faces the day and musters humour, shoulders the frustrations of the business we have chosen as our livelihood. And her frustrations are huge compared to those of the rest of us – we drones in the corporate hive.
I take something away from watching her. She humbles me with her strength of character. Her determination. She reminds me, daily, of my own good fortune; my husband is well, my children are well and my mother is still a part of my life, my extended family and wonderfully quirky friends who add so much.
This is where I see true courage and understand that it is quiet, it is unassuming. It is the foundation of character and strength. There are other examples of courage behind the cubicle walls, these examples too, walk quietly. You can hear if you choose to listen, you can learn if you have a mind to do so – the woman whose mother is struggling with MS, the young man living in a foreign culture and working to become a part of his new homeland, while strife envelopes his family so many miles away. The young mothers trying to be both mother and worker, not willing to skimp on either.
When I find myself, perhaps, succumbing to self-pity or a bout of the “Why ME’s!!” – I think about these people. I think about all the millions of people like them, walking with courage. Walking quietly, facing the challenges that they didn’t seek but the fates chose to throw in their path. I learn from them. I learn from every single one of them. I learn to be thankful for everything I have been given. I am thankful for my own challenges and the strength, these things have taught me, lies within.
Mary Anne Radmacher has expressed it beautifully: at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” I am thankful that there will be a tomorrow with the opportunity to try again. In our world, this opportunity does not present itself for far too many people, as they struggle to simply survive. Each day offers up the chance to stand tall, to walk with courage, we only have to recognize it and appreciate this chance to do it all again, to do it with dignity, with courage.