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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Courage Called For

Courage doesn't always roar.” (The Upper Room, Wednesday, April 18, 2012; from devotion submitted by Lisa Stackpole).

There are two kinds of courage: pretentious courage and humble courage. Showy courage is like that seen in the movie Braveheart. We see well-built young men covered in grit and grime fiercely wielding swords. Ironically, often this is not the most challenging form of courage. Humble acts of peace also need courage. They require low-profile courage. As is so often the case, when I think on these things I think of my father. He was a man who felt his limitations – a great attribute. He had the quiet but resolute courage to fulfill his mission—to humbly do what he perceived as God's will and mission for him despite his limitations. That's the kind of courage that I love. It's the kind of courage that frankly, when I see it, can bring me to tears.

The other day Kathy and I went to visit a woman in a nursing home. Hidden away in its corridors, she showed quiet courage. I've seen similar low-profile courage at work when people in humble positions daily accomplish remarkable feats.

Why is it as a nation do we tend to associate courage with military action rather than peaceful humanitarian service? Why is courage so often self-promoting and self-centered? I think of the courage of my mother who had the humble courage of creativity. Creativity requires courage (actually much more of it) than sanctioned vandalism or dull complacency.

I am almost persuaded that quiet low-profile courage is the genuine article and that bravado courage worn on the sleeve is inherently suspect.

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