I’ve been thinking and journaling about courage this week. I saw a meme the other day comparing Caitlyn Jenner to a soldier in military combat. The meme proclaimed that one was courageous and the other, well . . . not.
The meme didn’t sit right with me, but I couldn’t immediately pinpoint why.
Do I think the soldier is courageous? Absolutely.
I’m immeasurably grateful to all our service men and women (including my dad – a Vietnam veteran – and several friends currently serving in the military). God knows their job has got to be hard and I have nothing but respect for them.
But do I think it was easy for a transgender person to come out into the media spotlight? I’m not transgender, so I don’t know, but I would be frightened.
It took me time to figure out why I didn’t feel right about the meme, but I finally nailed it down. I didn’t like the message it left behind: That there is only one kind of courage.
I know for a fact this is not true. I see different forms of courage every single day. Each has its own place and value.
Think back. . . Do you remember grade school? (I know. *shudder*, right?)
Courage is a nine year old girl who doesn’t know a single person in her class but approaches a group of girls and asks to join them, praying a) they’ll say yes and b) not laugh at her.
In high school, for the obese fifteen year old on the brink of Type II diabetes, courage could mean losing weight for his health when he’s never exercised in his life. For the fifteen year old anorexic girl courage could mean gaining weight for her health even though it terrifies her.
Parenthood requires courage.
The mother who takes her two year old daughter to relentless chemotherapy sessions and her husband who swallows his fear at work so they can afford their child’s healthcare. They’re courageous.
Then, just when you think you’ve finally got it all figured out, courage is holding the hand of a dying parent as they take their last breath.
I watched a Ted Talk by Ash Beckham (here), in which she discussed polarity (a black and white mindset) versus duality (all the shades of gray in between).
Courage is not polarized as that meme would have me believe. The world isn’t that simple. Courage is not only one thing or another. Courage is duality. It has infinite shades of gray.
The meme I saw bothered me because it only told half the story. It didn’t allow for everyday courage. And there are far more examples of everyday courage than a single meme can capture.
How do you show every day courage? I love comments!