I recently had a group discussion around the word courage, and what it means to be courageous. However, I sometimes think we look to the extremes and too far into history to be able to recognize courageous behaviour and actions in our own lives.
When talking about courage we usually hear of the story of David and Goliath, among other biblical stories and also someone like Columbus sailing across the sea. These are valid examples of courage, however they are sometimes disconnected from us, that it is hard to have those stories resonate inside and for us to relate to.
As such, I bring up an example of someone who exemplified courage in the face of adversity: Joannie Rochette. Most of us know her story, while competing in figure skating at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver her mother died of a heart-attack. The nation, probably even the world, got behind Joannie and cheered her onto the podium as she received a bronze medal at the Olympics.
Going to the Olympics is a rarities in one’s life, and then to add in the same week another once in a lifetime event, the passing of one’s parent. Just imagine the conflicting emotions! But, in spite of the emotional turmoil, Joannie prevailed. Her efforts were recognized immediately when she was asked to be the flag bearer at the closing ceremonies. She eventually was a recipient of the Terry Fox Award.
Now, my question is, would she still have been the flag bearer if her mother was still alive today? Probably not. It was because of what she accomplished in the midst of anguish, the courage to go on, that made her the one to carry the nation’s flag.
Yes this is an extreme case, but it is recent and I find that most people can somehow relate to it in one way or another. Such as, have you ever been involved in an exclusive event? What did it feel like? Probably awesome. Have you ever experienced loss? How did that feel? Most likely pretty sad.
For those emotions we can all feel some sort of connection to the story.
However, have we ever had to be courageous in the face of loss? Now, I am not talking about taking on Goliath, or competing in a world competition. But a genuine and sincere loss? It was probably difficult to function, but think of the tasks that still got done during the time of the loss: the dishes, the bed being made, the ability to still interact with others. They may not be monumental tasks that were accomplished, but they were tasks done and completed in the face of adversity.
I know that if we really look into our souls, we can find examples of when we were courageous. When we actually looked a trial straight in the eye and pushed through.
We all have courage inside of us, it’s time to embrace it.
Josh Lockhart works for the College of the Rockies in Kimberley BC. He is also a columnist with the Battleford’s News Optimist and a Co-Author with Notes On Parenting. Josh is currently a graduate student at Gonzaga University. You can learn more about Josh at his blog: Locking Hearts Together.