I read recently that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to be uncomfortable with a situation and proceed anyway (I'm certain the quote was more elegant, but I'm far too lazy this morning to go get the book and dig up the right page). I read it in Take the Step: The Bridge Will Be There by Grace Cirocco. It got me thinking about all of the ways that courage can be defined in my life using that definition.
I have always equated courage with bravery, sort of a head-down, power through anything kind of stamina. With this gentler way of looking at it, courage is accepting a level of risk and fear in our lives, and choosing not to be limited by our own worries and inabilities.
To stretch and grow as people we must do things we don't want to do. We must love where it's easier to despise, forgive when we prefer to hold a grudge, and take chances where we are tempted to play it safe. I believe in listening to that still, small voice, call it God or your own intuition, and follow what it tells me. This is how I've made most of my decisions in life, but it almost always requires courage to take the step required when I get that nudge to action.
As I read this book, I keep seeing that scene in my mind from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, the one where Indy is trying to get to the Holy Grail and he stands on a ledge and steps into the air, expecting to fall, but suddenly he is standing on an invisible path that takes him to his destination. That picture encourages me to take a leap of faith myself, to manage my fears, and to believe in myself.
Life is about change. If we can't embrace that, life becomes very stressful and challenging. Nothing is meant to stay the same. As humans, we are wired to evolve and grow on a daily basis. I want my kids to take this growth for granted. I don't want them to be afraid to break free of expectations and routine to listen to that still, small voice and have the courage to follow it wherever it leads them.