It takes courage to live life. But what is courage? I have to say, I hadn’t given the topic of courage much thought until the other day. My daughter, Julia, a high school senior, has been busy submitting applications for college scholarships. Many of these applications consist of writing an essay. One of her most recent applications asked for an essay describing “the most difficult time in your life and how that experience changed your perspective.” Julia wrote the following about her best friend’s sister, who died from cancer:
“I learned more from Cassidy about courage and embracing the challenges of life in the three years I knew her than anyone else could teach me in a lifetime. Cassidy’s courage wasn’t always vocalized as a loud roar of victory, but her courage always possessed a hope and resiliency that never hinted at defeat. It was her silent courage, displayed in the daily fight for life that granted me the fighting spirit and resiliency I now possess.
When asked to define courage, most people would respond with statements like “standing in the face of fear” or “being able to do what scares you.” These definitions are one-hundred percent correct, but not complete. Courage isn’t just about standing in the face of fear or adversity. Courage is not only about choosing to act in spite of fear or adversity. Courage is about embracing the unknown and letting go of the familiar.
Cassidy lived with a different perspective of courage, one which I never realized she was instilling in me with every interaction. Choosing to see the positive aspects of life is transformational and brings hope to those around us. Courage is letting go of the familiar and facing the unknown. We may not be able to predict how life will move or where life will take us, but courage that reaches toward the unknown will always lead us to a full life.”
1 Chronicles 28:20 records these words of David, King of Israel;
“Be strong and courageous, and do the work… for the Lord God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”
“Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible.”
So, in light of the wise words of King David, Aristotle and Julia Williams, face tomorrow with courage. Embrace the unknown… let go of the familiar… do the work… it just might make the impossible possible!