COURAGE DOESN'T ALWAYS ROAR
by Mary Anne Radmacher
Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometimes Courage Is The Quiet Voice
at the end of the day saying,
"I will try again tomorrow."
Long ago I picked up the notion that courage involved grand gestures and was rather loud. The deafening roar of a blazing fire orchestrating the courage of the fire professional who runs in to burning buildings instead of out as every impulse
in my body would dictate.
A lion. That earth trembling roar that announces, “Here is the king.” Maybe the movies. Or a soldier. Or the deafening whoosh of an Olympic competitor rising from a fall.
I began seeing courage in different terms… with the volume turned down.
Over twenty years ago a good friend came to me in tears. The requirements on her as an adoptive mom were overwhelming. The needs that her precious daughter brought with her from another country were a puzzle to her. A puzzle written in a language she did not speak with many pieces missing. I wrote a poem for her that began, “Sometimes there aren't any trumpets…just lots of dragons.” The piece of comfort for my friend, became, in time, the rewritten piece that forms this headline.
This aphorism has comforted me on some spectacularly discouraging days. Called me when I wavered close to giving up. I would hear, “courage doesn't always roar…” and it made me realize that my tomorrow gave me another opportunity. Sometimes just an insight, or seeing the truth, constitutes the real roar of courage. More than any other phrase I have written, this walks with me as my teacher and cheerleader. I have come to understand that is true for other people, as well.
Sometimes courage expresses itself by simply acting on instinct and reaching out to
someone. Not necessarily reaching through fire, but reaching nonetheless. An executive
who kept a small stash of my writings in her desk, “for special occasions” stepped into my store one day and shared an amazing account of this phrase with me -
A co worker had seemed out of sorts for the last few days. She wasn't close to him and
didn't feel comfortable asking if something was wrong. Before she left she followed an impulse. She put a little card with the courage quote in the center of his desk.
What she learned early the following Monday was stunning. He returned to the office Saturday morning to put his office in order. He planned to take his life later that day. The message in the middle of his desk prompted his call to a suicide hotline where he started in with help and healing. The following week, through the known habit that this woman had of sharing my writings with folks, he went to her and told her his story.
A small gesture. A few words. A quiet whisper, really.
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