I’ve always wondered…
Then there’s the Cowardly Lion’s take on the word.
But I like Yvonne’s take on courage most of all.
Courage and compassion really should go hand-in-hand, but most times, they do not.
Courage. Bravery. These have, historically, been male characteristics. They’ve meant the strength to head off to war, to fight, and inevitably, to kill for the good of a cause. This meant enemy and victor. Someone won and someone else (one country or another) lost.
But who was it to really win in the end?
Where were the courage and valor in death, destruction, lost, pain, and grief?
I will never agree with war. Silly, right, to even say those words because nobody would, nobody does, right?
I may sound unaware of the hard realities. I may be a privileged, naive little Canadian, living in a time and place of peace. I may.
This doesn’t mean I don’t comprehend or appreciate what it must take to fight in a war, to step up when there is a clear and present threat, but I want better for my fellow humans. I make it my mission to put myself into any number of other pairs of shoes, but some things simply cannot be grasped through mere wanting and determination.
I want the reasons we go to war in the first place to be eliminated. I want to imagine, to require from people, a world of peace because the alternative sounds crazy/stupid to me.
I have no clue what I’m talking about, maybe. Maybe. Who knows.
I don’t know where the world is headed. I wanted to write a coherent and thoughtful piece for July’s 1000 Speak For Compassion. I know there are much better examples of courage I could come up with. War just came to my mind firstly, as that is what comes to most people’s minds when the word “courage” is mentioned.
Of course, I sound ignorant, but just stop the wars. They aren’t glamorous. We may not have fully realized, one hundred years ago, but now we are a much more connected world, with social media and 24-hour news. This is both better and worse.
As for other examples of courage, it would be a child fighting for his or her life in hospital.
I think my family are courageous for different reasons.
I think my grandparents were courageous, when war came to Europe in 1939 and they were only just two young people, starting their lives.
My parents were courageous when they were given me as a blind baby girl, my brother three years later, to navigate the world of disability.
My sister is courageous to fight for the family she wants for herself, her husband, and to give a sibling to my nephew.
A good friend of mine is courageous for going it alone, making a life for herself and her little girl.
Even I will hope for a little courage, if I am ever going to take a chance on myself and my writing, by going after a dream and traveling through a busy airport, unable to see my surroundings as I go.
I like to watch programs, documentaries, about war. I do see the value in learning from such an extreme human experience. I just don’t happen to think that is all we as humans can ever do to be truly courageous.
More and more, we need to show compassion and find our own courage when faced with the world we have to work with now. Courage, to me, means trying to keep a cool head when dealing with anyone who thinks or feels something different from myself.
I just wish more of us realized this. Our differences are varied, but our humanity can make us braver than we ever could have imagined.
Fight for peace and compassion, not wars and hatred. Be courageous enough to be compassionate.