The first time I heard the word “courage” was as a child watching the Wizard of Oz on TV. I understood the scarecrow’s desire for a brain, the tin man’s missing heart, but even by the end of the movie, courage was something unclear. It was represented by the wizard with a medal pinned on the lion’s fake fur breast. Still a mystery.
I wonder now if I understand it any more clearly. Courage is often presented as a choice. One runs into the burning building to save the child. But life rarely presents a single fork. Is it not equally courageous to give up that child in a clearly overwhelming fire in order to care for the remaining children who made it out unscathed? I truly don’t know, because I am not the one confronted with such a dilemma.
Courage plainly involves fear, overcoming it or moving forward despite it. But fear has its place. Fear is our warning signal and not always inappropriate. So there. Maybe courage is overcoming inappropriate fear. Got any?