I think the best way to talk about courage, is to do so in the context of conviction. People who display courage have already made up their mind that this is how they will live their lives … period.
Of course, there are many types of courage. For example: the courage to protect and save lives; the courage to physically and mentally press on, despite being hampered by sickness, injury and/or challenges like depression; the courage to admit when you are wrong; and the courage to stand up for what you believe.
In the book, Profiles in Courage, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1955 for a young Senator named John F. Kennedy; he described the courage of politicians who voted with their conscience, despite their loss of popularity, at the time.
In my own experience, I’ve seen courage close up, in a number of ways. My Uncle Earl had been afflicted with MS – a disease that attacks the nervous system – resulting in his spending most of his adult life in a wheelchair. When once asked what it is like living with MS, he said, “It’s no fun, I can tell you that. I wouldn’t want to wish it on anyone”.
Yet, he was one of the most humorous people that I’ve ever met. Being well-read, uncle Earl could talk intelligently on almost any subject and specialized in adding in his own unique wit. After a visit with him, you were the one who felt lifted … fighting back with deep-down courage!
Another example that comes to mind is the TV interview I did with Rev. Bob Rumball of Toronto, Canada – who founded the Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf. His mission of record: “He believed he could open the eyes of the world to the plight of the deaf.”
Known as a man who didn’t mince his words (being a tough-minded minister before becoming a professional football player), I asked him how he handled people who were resolutely determined to serve their own selfish ends. His answer was to say to himself, “I don’t care. I’m going to love you anyway.” And with a smile he added, that he always believed that it was “better to give than receive” — which he said he managed to do fairly well.
Personally, I feel that I need to ramp-up my own level of conviction when it comes to living courageously like this every day, in every way. ‘Practicing what you preach’ is something few of us do, but if we regularly reminded ourselves what it really costs us, we would definitely change our ways.
For one thing, you attract to yourself the very thing you project. So, if I allow myself to respond to life by becoming bitterly negative and unforgiving, and don’t see the innate goodness in others, what am I attracting?
And, if it’s true that we ‘reap what we sow’, and that our outer circumstances are controlled by our inner thoughts, then what is this saying about our future? (Should we be surprised, when ‘what goes around, comes around’?)
People who fail to recognize this reality are like these little magnetic tags that I see in apartment laundry rooms on machines that are not working. They read: ‘Please Fix Me, I’m Broken’.
Yet, aren’t we much better than a dumb washing machine? We should know that we’re programmed already to fix ourselves! The old proverb ‘Physician, heal thyself’ still holds true; but the more you know and the less you do, the greater is your pain – by the price you pay with an ever deeper internal struggle.
So, looking at it rationally, it’s really not about them; it’s all about us.
“These are the facts, my friend, and I must have faith in them.” – Cicero
The good news? The beginning is half done, and there’s no time like now to start again!