Courage is the most important of the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage. ~Maya Angelou
In the past days, beginning with G. Neri and Johnny Cash all the way through Ari I hope you’ve seen what a human virtue courage is. It transcends race, gender, diversity and adversity. It’s something we admire in anyone. There are so many individuals I could have asked to be part of this series! I’d like to thank those who did share they courageous stories!
Thinking about your reading experiences, what authors, characters or literary events seem the most courageous to you?
Before I was a blogger, teacher, quilter, or librarian I was a mother. That is at the core of who I am, and my children are the most important people in my world. To close this series, I opted to be self-indulgent and ask my three children what authors, characters or literary events seem the most courageous them. Children? My oldest is 30 and youngest is 28.
My oldest son lives on the west coast and is about to be a dad! He most admires the courage of Eddard “Ned” Stark from Game of Thrones.
I think reading has helped me grow in many areas including courage. I’ve followed many characters that I greatly admire for their unflinching determination in tough circumstances. Others have cowered away from their responsibility and duty. Reading has helped me see much more than I could have experienced in a limited time on this planet. I’ve found tons of admirable characters real and imagined that I aspire to be like. I’ve learned that courage is rarely applauded, recognized, or even celebrated. I believe, that it is one of the cornerstones to strong character.
I have never thought about the word courage. What it is. How it’s displayed. If I have it. Yesterday I spent the better part of two hours standing in a line that will change the course of my life.
I have attended four different colleges in my short life and during that time I have managed to obtain no degrees. (Courage is being able to share parts of your life that you may be ashamed of). Three of the four colleges I went to were for the same major but were simply location changes. When I realized that I was one of “those” people who would not be happy in life unless I was doing what I truly wanted to do and not just working to make money I dropped out. After a stint living abroad I moved back to the states and relocated to attend an art school because that is where my heart lies: creating. I believed that I was finally in the right place but life had different plans. I did not have enough money to finish school and get the degree I really wanted. So ever since I have been learning video production, graphic design and motion graphics on my own.
And there I was standing in line to enroll into my fifth school. But a few things have changed. I know what I really want. I know that I am mentally and financially ready to make this change. I used to be really insecure about this area of my life because I know that I am smart and have a resume that is pretty impeccable for someone who has not obtained a degree yet I know I could be more accomplished if I had a piece of paper stating that I am as capable as I am. Makes sense right? Yes, it should, because our society says that it should.
So, while I was waiting in line a woman appeared behind me and asked if I was a current student. She wanted to know what I thought about the school but I could offer no advice or counsel.
I quickly learned that the woman speaking was 67 years old with two sons, one who had his MBA while the other was still figuring out his life. The woman was very insecure about being older and going back to school after so many years. She knew it was what she had to do to stay alive (both by keeping her mind active and literally to make necessary ends to survive). She told me about her friends, most of whom are older than she is, and how they have sharp minds, travel, keep moving and have the ability to change as society changes. She envied them. She admired them. She was ready to join them.
It was very clear that my role in this conversation was to listen and learn. I gained a few bits of advice about life but what I really left with was the knowing that as long as I am living I need to keep the courage to push forward. To live the life I want to live. To never be content. To not just ride the waves of but to swim ahead, with knowledge, and be the one making the waves. My past is what has given me the courage to make better decisions today. Decisions that will lead to a better tomorrow. Courage to me is shamelessly living your purpose and doing the right thing along the way.
My youngest son lives in the southwest. While I expected he would look at some of his recent reads such as Quantum Enigma. Rather, he decided to go for something a little more real than non-fiction. His literary source for courage is the Bible.
To me courage is being able to put all faith in the one and true living God. To know that He is faithful and true to His word no matter the circumstances that face you. My faith is growing and walking in the Lord is a newer experience for me but I know that He is real and moving in my life. I am finding myself growing in courage when it comes to the changes in my life, among many other aspects, that I find that do not line up with walk the Lord would have me walk. The courage to stand up and do the right thing in the eyes of the Lord and not necessarily what the world would consider the correct thing to do. I’m finding the courage to write about God and how He has moved in my life and been faithful to me. This has all helped make this a real thing to me. Even if others don’t see or understand the change, it’s ok because in the Lord’s time they will understand when He makes it ready to be known. I cannot and, more importantly, will not force it on any person who does not want to receive the message I have to share. Why not? Because it is His story, I am the tool in His hand and do not wish to try to be the hand that moves but am content in being used by my Father. I have the courage to know in His mighty will all things work for the good of those who love the Lord.
In the books of Acts we see the Lord tell Paul “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” (Acts 23:11). A few chapters later we see Paul sharing this same word with the men around him “So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me”. (Acts 27:25). This is the biblical example of what I’m saying is happening with me. The Lord has taken time to encourage us and it is important to share that testimony with others around you to encourage them. It is imperative that we share the courage the Lord has given us. How many people have not heard that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ say these words: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). Yes, to some this is just another quote from another book. But someone will be touched and that’s who I am speaking to, I humbly pray the Lord touches everyone’s heart that reads these words and leads them to know they are true. Grace and peace to you.
My children make me be courageous! Who does it for you?