Courage – amended

The seasons and stages of our lives are sometimes slow, predictable transitions, wherein we enjoy a measure of peace. At other times they are periods that rock our world as catastrophe assaults us and threatens to crumble the ground beneath our feet.

cracked surface and character

I have been reflecting on the definition of courage, as I have been walking with friends who have been going through seasons of extreme challenge lately. I had defined it as “the ability to act rightly in the face of discouragement”, and while I still believe that this is true, I also believe that it needs a slight amendment. Sometimes courage is present, and their is no “act”-ion. Sometimes courage simply stands…even when it feels like we are weak or falling. We may not feel that we “act rightly” as we face catastrophe. We may feel that we are weak, not strong, as we face the storm. But facing the storm is a sign of courage, even if our face awash with tears.

Courage does not mean the absence of tears: “But there is no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man (or woman) had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”
Viktor Frankl

Far from a sign of weakness, tears bring health: “Tears are your body’s release valve for stress, sadness, grief, anxiety, and frustration.”
Dr. Judith Orloff, Psychology Today

Another conviction that I am arriving at, is that values (such as courage) hold their ultimate “value” in relation to purpose: “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
John F. Kennedy

“Why” you stand may in fact be the ultimate source of your ability to stand. What role are you serving? Who is looking to you? If it seems like your role is insignificant, there is yet an area of purpose that is held by all: Why do you exist? Who created you, and What were you created for?

If the ground beneath your feet has been crumbling, and what I am saying here is stirring something in you…reach out.