Courage is defined as the capacity to move forward despite fear, and I have rarely been afraid.  Sure, when the prince has been sick, or certainly when I knew my mother was dying, but those ordeals never came with another option.  I couldn’t opt out, I couldn’t ask someone else to suffer the worry or spend the night watching over my feverish kid.  So being brave really means moving forward despite fear when there is another option.  And that is noble.

In modern life, there are few opportunities.  Firemen, police, people whose job it is to be brave, of course.  But for the rest of us… there is little opportunity for nobility.  We are not the greatest generation, asked to make sacrifices at home and abroad during WWII.  We are the fat generation, toiling away at computers to give our kids dance lessons and dinners out.  I once complained to my brother that I would never be noble, nothing requiring nobility was ever asked of me and I’m too lazy to seek it out.  We are too soft, we have come to accept too much as our due.

Of late I have come to understand that the noble thing, the brave thing, can be very quiet, very subtle.  It can mean accepting a diagnosis and going ahead with the chemo when you want to quit.  It can mean thinking “Why me?” and saying “Why not me?”   It can mean attending the arraignment, accepting what lies ahead, and acting on plans for the future.  Because there will be a future.

Because there WILL be a future.  Sometimes being brave means walking through dark times, just breathing, just taking this next meal, this bad medicine, because you MUST, because there is the future to think of.  This time, when you must be brave, will be a horrible story ten years from now.  Horrible stories don’t kill– giving up, that kills.

Head up, shoulders back.  Hard times ahead.  Don’t give up.  Be brave.

…Don’t hide in the corner, pointing fingers at your past. Don’t sit under the table, talking about someone who has hurt you. Instead, stand up and face your past! Face your fears! Face your pain! And stomach it all! You may have to do so kicking and screaming and throwing fits and crying- but by all means- face it!

This life makes no room for cowards.

-C. Joybell C.