April 18 - COURAGE
the twenty-ninth day of Renewal
Even without their spring attire, the birch limbs heroically reach for the opening in the clouds. Below, the ice is gone from the pool, at least for now. And I find myself reflecting on the meaning of courage.
Though you are not likely to find this definition in a dictionary, I like to think of courage as the ingredient most needed to achieve a cause greater than ourselves. In ascribing the trees with the motive to reach for the wild blue yonder, I am referring to the theme of aspiring to greatness - focusing on the well being of all, rather than self. In their ground-breaking book, Me to We, Craig and Marc Kielburger recount the courageous stories of those setting their sights beyond personal gain.
A common interpretation of courage is fearlessness. I disagree. It is perfectly natural to experience fear as a component - and perhaps a necessary part -- of a courageous act. In his novel, For Art's Sake, W. O. Mitchell speaks of fear in the pursuit of creating art. I think it applies to everybody. "You must face confusion, self-questioning, dilemma. Only amateurs are confident ... be prepared to live with fear of failure all your art life." For me, then, courage is the choosing to act in spite of my fear.
What does courage mean to you?