“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” ~C.S. Lewis
This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about courage.
This is what I have not been thinking about: rescuing a toddler from a burning building, diving into icy waters to retrieve a drowning man, wrestling a weapon from a crazed sniper. These are all cliff-leaping examples of bravery, of course, and worthy of news coverage and shiny gold medals and warm handshakes.
What I have been thinking about, though, are the small heroics; those little curbs of courage we step off of every day without even realizing it. In observing my friends and family this week, I’ve witnessed too many small heroics to count. I’ve compiled a few below.
Acts of Courage (An Incomplete List)
- saying no when you think you should say yes
- leaving before it’s over
- shining a light on ignorance
- singing louder than the throng
- demanding to be paid fairly
- calling out the naked emperor
- walking in late to an overstuffed room
- having the hard conversation
- putting your money where your heart is
- refusing bigotry at any cost
- choosing difference
- loving more than you are angry, and so on, and so on, and so on.
We demand so much of ourselves. When the day ends quietly — no parade celebrating our mettle, no letter in the mail congratulating us on getting through it alive — we forget the boldness our humanity demands. Each morning, we step into a day that will bite us and feed us, imploring us to make things right in the world in spite of ourselves. Today, I urge you to pay attention to your little acts of heroism. They may not make front page news, but they are everything.
Keep being brave. Thanks, as always, for showing up.