1: “the ability to do something that frightens one”, or
2: “strength in the face of pain or grief”.
There seems, in the first definition, to be some level of choice. I can be afraid of something and do it anyway. I had a fear of heights, so I CHOSE to stand on top of a telephone pole (with a life line), to ride in a hot air balloon and a glider plane. My fear of heights dissipated significantly.
In the second definition, pain and grief are components of life that present themselves often unexpectedly. In these cases, at least in my life, courage becomes a requirement. We MUST demonstrate it outwardly, whether we feel it internally or not. I worked for an airline that dropped a plane out of the sky. Pain and grief? In abundance. Courage? A necessity. I received the unanticipated diagnosis of breast cancer. Pain and grief? Absolutely. Courage? Very little choice.
So I sit and wonder about courage. Is it something that shines through simply because, without it we wither? Can I demonstrate courage outwardly and be trembling in fear internally? Is courage something we can cultivate? Can we build it now, so we’re prepared when we need it? Perhaps this 40-day Journey of Courage will help clarify this issue. What are my fears today? What courage will be needed to face them? How will I muster/find/cultivate that courage? Do I already embody it? Will it come from emulating my role models? Perhaps these questions, too, will be answered through this Journey of Courage.