I believe in courage. A few years ago, anchorman Dan Rather was derided for his use of the word as his signoff; but I remember that those trying times as calling for courage. Too often in our society , courage is portrayed as a rarely attained virtue, one of deeds, myths and heroes.
M. Scott Peck wrote “Life is difficult” and that once we accept that life is difficult, life no longer becomes difficult. I believe that a life well lived requires courage .
Nearly twenty year ago, I was at my apex: I had attained my medical degree, I practiced medicine at one of the world’s leading medical centers and I had just married my high school sweetheart. In an instant, a tree falling upon my car left me paralyzed. As they loaded me into the ambulance, my husband, who had driven much too fast to reach me, appeared. His courage–action in spite of fear–has buoyed me ever since.
We have a son together. Nicholas entered this world much too soon, at 24 weeks. At 2 weeks of age, we were called to the hospital as the doctors thought he would die that night. He fought for his tiny life and emerged four months later–courage. Years later, we were told that Nicholas was autistic. And it is in him that I see everyday courage as he strides forth. Our world, our reality is not as welcoming or friendly to Nicholas and other children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: faces, noises, touch so many things we delight in are sources of fear and discomfort for them. Everyday, I see him summon the courage to interact with our world, shaking hands, answering his teacher’s questions, talking to his classmates. These are not easy things for him to do and I admire his determination to overcome so much. He is more courageous than any one I know.
I believe in everyday courage. I believe in the courage to love, the courage of faith, grace and forgiveness. I believe in the courage of the uncelebrated life.
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