The Marine rushes toward the enemy; the firefighter sprints into the building, and the bald boy stares down another round of chemotherapy. Courage is humble in nature and doesn't draw attention to itself.
The courageous walk among us and don't desire parades. They alone peer out of their eyes and are confronted with a choice; freeze or act. This choice may be an act to survive, save another, or stand firm for a cause.
I had always heard that being a grandparent was fantastic, all the fun without the responsibility. Therefore, I hacked the system and became a grandfather through marriage.
This hack provided a view of my granddaughter's courageous battle with Stage 3 thyroid cancer. This cancer diagnosis is rare for a 20-year-old. Her dream of an Air Force career was dashed as she sat in the doctor's office, listening to the news.
Ashley has been the epitome of one who refuses to be beaten down by the disease. She has poured her passion for the military and uniformed public servants into her art. This cancer fighter is on her way to building quite the artist portfolio (@ash_militaryartist) and more importantly, character refined in the fires of courage exercised.
I have encountered courage in survivors of the 9/11 Pentagon, 2013 Navy Yard shooting, domestic abuse, floods, Nazi concentration camps, veterans, those that have faced their private demons, raised a hand to ask a question and risk embarrassment, or held the hand of a dying spouse or parent.
Nobody leaves this life unscathed, and it requires courage to make it through.
Conversations are a gateway to hearing these stories. Everyone has a story and can teach remarkable things. If we walk away from a conversation bored, we have failed to ask the right questions; It's not their fault. We must learn to appreciate those standing before us and be listening for a story of courage.
Your list is different than mine; who is on your list?
Be encouraged, the odds are good your name is on someone's list.
Going Further: Are there common themes in the stories around you? What long-time friends story do you have yet to hear? When did you last encourage these stories of courage?
Photo: The Protea flower symbolizes courage.