What does it mean to be brave?
The definition is readily available; https://www.dictionary.com/browse/brave but does this go far enough? What about we go one step further, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/courage.
Are some people born with a more innate inclination to be brave? Does their newborn heart beat slightly differently with that web of bravery and courage woven throughout? Are they the ones whose parents are always chasing them maybe watching them as they take life head on, hang the consequences? Picking them up should they fall and telling them (once assured no harm has been done) to walk it off, they’re fine.
Do these children grow up to be the warriors of life? Those who gladly wear the uniform of soldier and head out to protect the land and people they love. Are they the ones who run into burning buildings, who rush into dangerous situations as paramedics or police seeking to help and protect? Are they the citizens who see an injustice or a wrong being done, and stand up to do what is right?
Can one of those, who have that heartbeat of courage and bravery, have that beat stilled? Can people or events along life’s journey change bravery to fear, or in the very least, a hesitation? Is it possible, for that beat, that breath of courage, to be rekindled?
What of the ones who have always been a bit timid? Who watch from the sidelines and wish, but simply cannot make themselves take that first move outward into challenge and adventure? Can one learn, to be brave?
Is it being brave, or courageous, or a different strength, or many strengths, to face something that frightens you? When you suddenly find yourself having to stand up and act. Whether the action is great or small?
There were many things that over the course of time and life, I developed an extreme dislike, akin to fear, in handling. Calling any customer service or support even doing online chats with them, had me shaking. I left everything I possibly could for when my husband would come in off the road. Then, he died. I had to make all of the calls to close his personal accounts and change some to my name. I had to find someone to repair the roof of my house. I had to replace the kitchen stove and refrigerator. I had to replace my car. I had to face, what I had avoided for so long.
Not only that, I had to face living alone and finding my way. I was working. I was running errands. I was getting out some hiking. I was attending church.
Then, the pandemic hit. Even though I have never and am still not afraid of the virus, everything shut down in some form, and I became comfortable at home. My son began calling me a recluse. There have always been reasons I have felt an outsider, but I needed to find ways to make new friends. I’m working on it, slowly. Some lessons take longer.
But others, how do others have to be brave? What fears and challenges must they overcome? The ones who don’t have to run into burning buildings, or jump from planes to save someone. What of those who have health issues that restrict their abilities? How brave is a child, or an adult, who goes in and faces bullies every day, even and especially when they should not need do this? How brave the individual who for what ever reason, has lost a limb and must face life in a new way? The challenges vary for the individual. My late husband struggled to read well, but he faced it head on and managed.
I knew a person many years ago who had mental health and addiction issues, yet had the understanding that only they could help them self. And they did. The way a bit unorthodox, but it worked and last I heard, they were doing very well.
Are there variations and levels of being brave? Does courage have degrees? Can fear, be overcome?
I once had a fear of heights at a magnitude that climbing onto a chair, made me tremble. (This from a child who once climbed as high as possible in trees moving from the limb of one tree to a limb of the next.) I grew tired of being afraid and decided to face that fear. I would get on the roof of my house at every excuse. I would seek out ways to face high places. Now, while I wouldn’t try sitting on the edge of a cliff, I am much better. I have a healthy respect for the potential danger, but can enjoy the view from different perspectives.
When my brother found out he had Leukemia, he told our mother and told her that he would either be home for Thanksgiving, or he wouldn’t. He was facing his future with all the bravery he had always held. If he could face his possible (and eventual) death with bravery, how much more so, should I face life?