This I Believe

William - Vacaville, California
Entered on December 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: courage

Courage & Triumph

During a youth church meeting on a summer evening, something changed. A song was being sung; I mumbled quietly along. I loved the music, I rejoiced in every note, every strain, every word; but I mumbled along. I just couldn’t sing. Why should I even attempt to. Others could sing far better than I could. my concern grew; my voice became barely audible. Thoughts persist; a voice inside tells me to just be quite. As the last verse starts I found myself wanting to sing, my heart almost exploded from my chest, horrified, I began to hear my voice crescendo, terribly out of tune, but yet singing. The expression of my emotions came out in force; my voice swelled as never before, a joyous tear leaked across my face. The hymn had finished. The next chance to sing I didn’t hold back, it felt too good. why should I fear?

The change began. I forsook my reserved habits. I had for too long been subject to doubt and anxiety, I tried new things. Things I had wanted to do, but never prior had strength to do. I couldn’t believe it, some how I had found courage, not in the forms of heroes of antiquity, nor a knight’s chivalry, not even the equivalent of a Disney film, or was it? I had decided to conquer fear, not by it’s elimination, not by ignorance, but by realizing a simple truth. It isn’t worth being afraid; singing gave me joy. how could I surrender joy for fear. It was more important to sing, to harvest joy instead of being afraid. It wasn’t the destruction of fear, I still felt fear of judgment, but fear could not overshadow joy. I did things I was terrified of, but I did them, is that not courage? Men at the beaches of Normandy were not ignorant: they were not dumb. The first wave of men on those shores knew they were about to die, but they still fought. Think of the Underground Railroad that provided freedom, do you think that those “conductors” were they not afraid of being caught, being betrayed? But yet they continued, they had courage beyond measure.

I believe courage needs fear, without overcoming fear it is impossible to have courage. Courage is to realize that it is more important to act, to stand, to speak, to sing, then to be afraid. True human courage is a child walking into the dark, absolutely shaking, ready to cry out, but still moving forwards. When the child ages fear of the dark vanishes, the act of courage once found in the first steps dissolved into a mere chore, the dignity gone. Why? There was no fear. The existence of fear is vital to the establishment of courage. Without fear any acts, no matter how heroic are just physical movements that accomplished a task. In victory in courage over fear mere human existence is edified, magnified to its true majesty.