“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”
“Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
In Spike Lee’s film, Do the Right Thing, the disc jockey Mister Senor Love Daddy, played by Samuel L. Jackson would have a word of the day. Today the word of the day for me is “courage.” This is what I need today. What is courage? It’s an opposite of fear. What is fear?
Fear is the voice in my head that says I’m not going to reach my goal or goals. Fear says that I will be alone for the rest of my life. Fear says that doing these blogs is useless. Fear says that I won’t be able to get control of the kids I’m teaching. Fear says that I’m useless. Fear says that I’m never going to reach any of my goals, large or small and that I’m going to die alone and forgotten, forgotten by God and by everyone.
Fear is big. It’s huge. It’s as big as the monster under the bed or hiding in the closet. It’s big and it’s not real. It’s just a collection of thoughts. The purpose of these thoughts is to ultimately destroy me. Barring that, this collection of thoughts will do its best to keep me from being effective and happy. Then it will assist me in destroying myself.
What then is courage? It’s more than just the absence of fear. It’s the ability to acknowledge fear and move forward anyway. I need two kinds of courage. I need outer to courage, to work, to stand firm, to know what I want and, most of all, to wait. I also need inner courage to not allow fear to overtake my thoughts. I know I’m very vulnerable to that right now. I’m vulnerable to panic attacks and depression and discouragement. So, every time a thought comes in that will take me to those states, I have to deal with it immediately. I can’t give the devil even the smallest foothold in my head.
In addition being courageous, I have to wait. This is a season of waiting. But it has to be the right kind of waiting. When I was younger I used to take the bus and I remember waiting, usually with other people. All of us would look expectantly in the direction of the bus even if it was nowhere in sight. We’d look and look and look expectantly. That’s not the kind of waiting I want to do. I want to prepare while I’m waiting. I want to be the man who is ready to receive the blessings he is waiting for so expectantly. I don’t want to stand there being anxious and irritable wondering when my blessings will arrive. I want to be working for them.
Which is harder, courage or waiting? They’re both hard. Even now my thoughts are telling me that I am about to experience a long season of loneliness and emotional pain. Even now, while I’m writing these very words, my thoughts are showing me pictures of me walking the streets alone and depressed or curled in a fetal position and crying in emotional anguish.
And they’re just thoughts. That’s all they are. I can tap on them or pray about them or do The Work or drink a lot of water. I can focus on the needs of others or the tasks I have before me. I can pray for those I love. The Enemy in my head is huge, but it’s only in my head.
So today I keep working. If (and God forbid it’s anything more than an “if”) all my fears do come true, if I die alone, unloved and unread, but I have made a difference every day, if I have done my best every day, then I have won.
If I Get Started and Keep Going every day then I will have all the courage I need. I will be able to wait, not in anxious expectation, but with joyous expectation, with hope, with accomplishment.
This is what is expected of me. This is what my Muse needs from me most of all. This is what the people I love and serve need from me. Make me a light, Lord. Make me a light.