Gisele Nelson: Coffee drinker, reader and book collector, porch sitter, organizer, so-so piano player, obsessed with Google docs, master of old-lady-phrases, and good listener.
I heard this quote once by Ambrose Redmoon, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” I’ve mulled it over a lot over the years, thinking about the presence of fear in our courage.
The reason courage is remarkable, is because right smack dab in the middle of it lays fear, doubt, and remembrances of past failure. It seems that as we pursue and think about courage, it’s linked ever so delicately to shame. We are pricked in our most honest and vulnerable places with how we have failed before. We are keenly aware of the possibility that it might just happen again. We are ashamed of risks taken and failures realized. We’ve taken huge chances, and then had to admit that what we had hoped wasn’t the reality.
Or maybe sometimes we’re ashamed because we are also aware of how we’ve denied courage and allowed our fear to cripple us. We have pursued the “safe” things in order to avoid failure. We have dreamed giant bigger-than-me dreams, and then left them as good as dead because what if they don’t work? Or worse yet, in some cases, WHAT IF THEY DO? How will they interrupt my life? What will have to change to pursue them? How will I explain this to the people I love the most?
This is where we shake hands with courage and make an agreement. We lean over and whisper in fear’s ear with a shaky voice, “Not this time.” Maybe the morning after our failure we find the courage to get up, look the people we’ve let down in the face, admit our failure and do the next thing. We weigh the consequences of our so called “crazy” ideas or risks, and decide to pursue them anyway. We don’t let fear win. Not this time.
Where have you let courage win? When have you said yes to courage to pursue something greater than your fear? What happened?