Courage – The First Essential

Anjali - Chatsworth, California
Entered on September 26, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: courage
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Rosa Parks did not set out to make a name for herself. She was tired of being told to give up her seat to a white person. One day, when the bus driver made the usual request she turned to him and said, “No”. That one word, which came from the depth of her being, reverberated around the US and changed the course of its history.

Ms. Parks was only doing what she felt was right. All human beings should be accorded equal rights and respect, but in her time it was not so. Disenfranchised, she stood up to the establishment and fought for her rights.

“If I lack courage I have nothing,” said a medieval writer. This I believe – that courage is the root of all other virtues. It gives you the power to do what needs to be done, even if the doing is against your current inclination.

How often do we raise our voice in protest against things that are not right? It maybe a coworker who litters the workplace. It could be a bullying boss. We see, and then turn away, telling ourselves that it is none of our business.

I am reminded of the article of a student writing for a college paper. She saw that one of her classmates was always alone. She thought of talking to him, but he had a don’t-care air attitude, and she kept her silence. Halfway into the semester he committed suicide. His writings revealed the depths of his loneliness and despair.

“I wish,” she wrote, “that I had gone up and said hello to him.”

We do not know what effect our actions will have, but should always have the courage to do what is right.

There are many kinds of courage, but in the broadest classification there are two categories: physical courage and non-physical courage. The lifeguard who jumps into the ocean, the fireman rushing into the burning building certainly demonstrates physical courage.

Then there is a quieter courage –that of a person who lives an honest life. It requires strength to survive hardship. Perseverance is another form of courage. It allows us to keep moving towards our goal, no matter how rough the road.

To know something and not to live it is a lie. All our hopes, dreams, aspirations will come to naught unless we put them into action. Often it takes time for an action to show results. You start yoga, or a diet program. Instant slimness and health does not result. Friends and family scoff at your effort. The brave is he who soldiers on, regardless.

Into every life a little rain must fall; sometimes that rain becomes a storm and life a creaky vessel buffeted by the winds in a storm-tossed sea Courage, then, is the hoisted sail that carries our frail barque into a safe harbor. It is that which makes possible faith, love, happiness, action; all of life itself