When I think of the word ‘Courage’ I think of the ‘Lion’ in the ‘Wizard of Oz’. He spends the story looking for courage, only to find it was there, deep inside. Courage is often something we wish for, want or desperately need. Finding it and keeping a hand on it whilst we walk over bumpy ground is not easy.
My thoughts tonight are with the thousands of people in Christchurch facing a cold night, without power or running water, after two strong after-shocks this afternoon. I admire the courage of the teachers that would have hidden their own fears to stand strong for the children. I think of the people working to restore power, whilst wondering what state their own home is in. I reflect on the amazing spirit that the people of Christchurch keep showing in the face of continual onslaughts from an unpredictable, trembling ground (having just read this blog post, ‘This Amazing City‘ from ‘MakeItGiveIt – Let it Shine’ blog). There will be families huddled together for warmth and comfort this evening, encircled in blankets, their hearts joined in love and courage.
I also think of the people of Chile and all those affected by the dramatic volcanic eruption. The skies of New Zealand have been tinted with ash and New Zealand flights have been disrupted.
In my own little home courage is something I see every day, on a much smaller scale, but nevertheless the feelings are the same.
I have my own daily fears to face. Little battles within that often go unnoticed and yet my tummy turns and my pulse beats a little faster. I feel anxious when the telephone rings and often let it go through to voice-mail (thank goodness for text messaging). I feel like hiding in a corner when my toddler screams like a wild banshee in a cafe, exercising her vocal chords at a pitch many an Opera singer would be proud of – just not at quite the right tone and not the right place! I plea for courage when all three of my children ‘need’ me at the same time and my mind races to prioritize their needs in a nano-second and problem solve to minimize the collateral damage.
Courage comes to me like a sun beam on a cloudy day – often by surprise and welcomed with a grateful heart when it’s needed most.
I see Alice explore her world and become spatially aware, collecting bumps and bruises as she finds her way. I know she finds courage every day, though she doesn’t yet know that it has a name or that she asserts it with each determined step and tentative climb.
I watch Charlotte with pride as she throws her school bag on her bag and faces her own daily challenges. She struggles to find courage to stand up for what she believes in, to tell others there is a better way when they use cruel words or whisper behind hands. It takes courage for her to tell me that she feels uncomfortable when people she’s seen as friends are now making her learning life at school harder. She is learning every day how to handle difficult social scenarios and at times gets clearly frustrated when her love of learning is forced to play second fiddle to immature behaviour of whispers, bullish words and copy-cat tactics. I admire her courage in standing up for what is right.
I watch Sophie climb with bravado to the top of a climbing frame, knowing that her apparent ‘loud’ exterior hides a sensitive, often nervous interior. When she says, ‘My tummy hurts,’ she is feeling ‘butterflies’ or what we know as ‘anxiety’, but she has yet the maturity to know what it is or how to handle those feelings. It takes courage to face our fears and just like the lion discovered in ‘Wizard of Oz’ it was something he had to find within him – not something that could be simply given, like a band-aid or a dose of medicine.
I know that there is no medicine for courage. It is often most allusive when we need it most. At other times we find, to our surprise, that it is there when we need it – as though we’ve been sent a power charge to boost us up. My heart and prays go to those that seek courage in this moment. I hope they find their power within to face the obstacles in their path x