Rarely have I needed courage with a capital ‘C’ – that big Courage to run into a burning building to save a child, to front an armed home intruder, to publicly take a stand expressing an unpopular view or take up arms in the face of evil aggression like tens of thousands of Ukrainians have had to do. But courage, real courage, rarely comes into our lives in that way. Courage, like God, comes to us ‘disguised as our lives’!
Those small ‘c’ courage times are rarely seen, even less rarely applauded, acknowledged or even admired but they are real. Those small ‘c’ courage times are not medalled or written up in history but they are powerful beyond measure. Those small ‘c’ courage times have no fanfare, no packed auditorium and no broadsheet headline but they truly make a difference. Those small ‘c’ courage times appear so little and insignificant, so powerless against a wave of oppression, depression, hurt or anger but they, like the seed growing in the concrete crack reach for the sky.
Everyone of us has our own battles to fight, struggles to face and journey to walk. For some, simply getting out of bed takes courage, for others not to reach for the bottle while for others their battle is to forgive – self or other – it really does not matter. Each in their own way takes ‘c’ courage. Many if not most will fight their small ‘c’ battles alone and unseen. Some have a treasured friend beside them – but no matter how fine the friend – the courage battle can ultimately only be fought alone.
Small ‘c’ courage forgiving the unforgivable – small ‘c’ courage choosing to look deeply into eyes with hope – small ‘c’ courage choosing to see beauty in the midst of pain – small ‘c’ courage listening to the love whisper beneath the noise of the bleating of the crowd – and following it. Small ‘c’ courage laughing at yourself with warmth, hugging self deep within and one of the hardest battles of all – being gentle with yourself in the midst of battle whatever form that battle will take.
Too often I have walked life’s journey looking for Capital C Courage when the whisper asks only for the next single step. Too often I have looked for and felt ashamed when I lacked Capital C Courage when I should have been proud of my long days and long nights of ordinary fidelity walking beside brokenness within and around. Too often I have canonised the hero with their Capital C Courage and not hugged the small ‘c’ courageous dreamer, poet and friend.
Courage: to name that which is true, to find fidelity, to begin again, to reach out, to ask for help, to soften and forgive, to risk and dance, to allow and hold lightly, to see dignity and worth …to do and to be that which love and life needs us to do and be – in the million small moments that like the behind knots on a tapestry – create the masterpiece.
Today and every day our truest and our best selves simply ask of us those small, humble, unseen and unnamed small five second choices that tickle courage’s tummy – and if we do – in some beautiful mysterious way the Capital C Courage will grow within us. If we choose those small moments of courage – we will leave this beautiful global village a better place for all – we will have that sparkle in the eye – we will find and know peace in a world that wants us to be cynical and to lose hope. Tickling courage’s tummy will put an end to that! Perhaps tickling small ‘c’ courage’s tummy might be the finest thing we will do this day.