There are so many ways to be safe and stay inside the lines. But the stories that draw us in are the ones in which the protaganists exhibit true courage. Sometimes true courage is obvious and worthy of a History Channel special all on its own. The amazing volunteer firefighters in West, Texas who rushed towards the burning fertilizer facility this week right before it blew apart come to mind.
And, yet...true courage isn't always obvious. We usually have to look past initial disappointment or pain to be able to recognize that what we're really seeing is true, compelling courage.
Here's the courage I've seen lately:
1. One of my gay friends told me the story about how he came out to his dad. Church is hugely important to both him and his family. He refused to let go of his family, his faith or himself. Amazing.
2. The local pottery store is going out of business. My son and I will miss going there and I hate it that the business venture didn't work out, but more than anything I'm inspired (and even a bit envious) that the owners put their dreams on the line and lived their art for a while.
3. Someone is leaving her steady job to start her own business, helping high school students find their best college match. Right now she makes a good living with great benefits, but every day she feels more drained than the day before. She wants the same thing we all want - a job that brings joy and meaning into her life - but she's willing to take major risks to find it.
There are more stories, but some seem too private to share. And, really, I want my own story now.
I feel as if I've discovered a beautiful book full of brave tales and I'm looking at a blank page, wondering what mine will be. "Jenn's Courage" - that's the title. And it begins this way - "Once there was a woman who spent her whole life hiding in the shadows, trying to help other people. Then one Spring, right as the first green tomatoes sprouted in her garden, she decided it was time to be brave..."