As I stood there, one leg on the wing of the plane, looking down at the shore line so tiny and far away, the rest of my body still in the plane while the instructor finished hooking himself up to me, I thought, “How did I even get up here?” Here I am, at X thousand number of feet, half out of an airplane, getting ready to jump. I’ve never even been in a plane, let alone really wanted to jump out of one! When did I tell someone I wanted to do this? But when the instructor tapped my shoulder and said “Let’s Go!”…
Oh, you thought that was me in that picture. Are you nuts? I didn’t jump out of that plane! My mind shut down, my body froze up, and I could not let go! I eventually made it safely back into the tiny, tiny plane and rode down like a coward back to the air strip. Head hung low, I quietly made the walk of shame back to my car and drove home.
That day I didn’t have the courage to jump out of that plane. But is it really courage, or is it just the right amount of adrenaline and crazy that gets people to do that? I’d have to say it’s the latter, though people would probably disagree with me.
So what is real courage?
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela
“Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne
True courage is facing the everyday challenges that we are afraid of, and over coming them. Heading out that door each day on your run, despite the fact that you know it’s going to hurt, and you know the journey to your goal is so far away…that takes courage. Waking up each day and raising your children, making the tough decisions though they may not like and they’ll “hate” you for it…that takes courage. Deciding to stand up to something, because you know it’s wrong, despite the outcome…that takes courage. Putting on the uniform each day and heading out to keep our streets and country safe…that takes courage. Heading to your next chemo treatment, even though you know it’s going to make you feel sick for the next two days…that takes courage.
So in everything in life, we need courage to move forward. I personally draw that courage from my son, my wife, and my relationship with God. In my weakest moments where I want to give up, I pull courage from knowing why I’m doing what I’m doing, and it gives me the strength to move forward. Be courageous my friends.