Courage is not the absence of fear but the acquired ability to move beyond fear.” ~ Matthew Kelly
There are so many great quotes about courage, but this one makes so much sense right now. It IS an acquired thing for me….my threshold for disappointment may be higher than it used to be, but so is my ability to hope. I’m learning that the two can walk hand in hand. I LOVE to see improvements in Vernon…Saturday’s clarity was such a boost, for example! But the last couple of days, he has been tired and sick and agitated and unable to express himself well. It’s not what we want to see…although the truth is, it isn’t actually ABOUT us and our feelings. His brain and body are going to take the time they need, whether or not its convenient for his family. But even so, its hard to watch him in pain and discomfort.
I saw this deflated balloon by the side of the road a few weeks ago and actually made a U-turn and pulled over to take a photo. I recognized the symbolism immediately and knew there would be a time I’d feel like this in the future. It’s the way of long term recovery. You get a good day…you get a bad day. Nothing is consistent for long. But the fact that you are walking the path at all is a reason to keep walking it.
Its all an uphill climb. Vernon gets a little better, we climb a little higher. He gets worse, we climb down…but its just a valley, we aren’t back at sea level…we are still in the range. Even our valleys are peaks compared to where we once were.
And that is how we grow in courage. Vernon is physically exhausted, while I’m emotionally exhausted…but we are still more able to handle the ups and downs than we were before. And so we keep going, keep growing.
It’s amazing to discover how much a person can handle.
And you know what? There are people who have it MUCH harder than we do. I imagine their courage is vast, but they probably still had to grow it inside themselves. It sounds weird to say it: but its probably easier when you don’t have a choice. I also believe that God gives mysterious grace to those who are suffering …which surely waters those courage seeds so they can grow as needed.
This is a song I’ve been listening to a lot lately. Though I think its probably another break-up song, some of the lyrics hit my heart in a big way. Pretend its about whatever you are going through, and maybe you’ll feel the same.
We all go through hard stuff. Lots of fear, lots of loss…I wish it wasn’t such a big part of living, but it is. Whatever you are going through is YOURS….and if its YOURS, it stings, especially if it lingers too long. But it’s the opportunity to expand…and be stronger for the next time something comes along, either better or worse. Take courage! You’ve earned it!