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?
I was afraid to take the trip of a lifetime with my cousin and her partner. I missed out on making precious memories and had to stay in my little Corner of the world because of fear. I admit being afraid of catching Covid while out of country, especially because I was in the middle of transitioning to Medicare from private insurance. Major fear factors. I look over my should with some regret but know in my heart it was far more practical for me to cancel the trip, even though I ( like the lion in Oz ) was given plenty of fake metals from friends and Family as gesture of confidence of support. Medals give a person status, but fear and courage are far more complex.