I’m not especially courageous. I over-think situations when I’m compelled to step outside my comfort level. I worry about how my actions will affect my family, my peers, my world, myself. I don’t want to hurt or offend with my words. I do want to make a difference but I’m overly cautious and slow to take the first brave step.
I wasn’t timid in my youth. I championed for whatever I thought was right. I was, at times, naïve and believed most people felt like I did. I imagined what I wanted was best for everyone. I realize now I was gullible in regards to certain issues but I was brave. I was confrontational and less concerned with how others regarded me.
I miss the gutsy side of me. Try to visualize me today, weighing the pros and cons before I ‘like’ something on Facebook. Will I offend someone? Is this the compassionate thing to do? Am I doing this for the right reasons?
I know it takes courage to navigate today’s world if we hope to contribute to society. We’re bombarded with rules from every side. Everyday, we make decisions which define who we are. These decisions are based on our relationship with the rules which guide us.
Let’s look at three sources of rules in our lives:
- Parental Rules-these are the first rules we remember. In a perfect world, parental rules are there to protect us and teach us to live in an acceptable manner as we connect with society. Not all parents have the same rules.
- Governmental Rules-these are designed to allow us to live harmoniously. They are designed to keep us safe – in a perfect world.
- Religious Rules-these are designed to morally guide us. The rules are based on experience and interpretation. Religious rules are divisive in many cases.
It takes courage to voice an opinion when you don’t agree with the rules. To be courageous means following your gut.
At some point in life, I realized that because my parent’s felt one way didn’t mean I had to feel the same. Essentially what my parents taught me was good stuff, but they had their parenting flaws. I have my parenting flaws. While raising my children, I didn’t always go with my gut but instead went with whatever was mainstream. I feared that my children would have a harder life if they didn’t do what every child in small town America was doing. Luckily, they eventually did their own thing in spite of parental warnings. Do you know you can have a tattoo and find a job? Imagine my surprise. I’m proud of each one of them and I’ve learned much from raising children.
In government, I can honestly say, in all my years of voting, never has any candidate represented everything I believe in. When it comes to political issues, being courageous means standing up for what you perceive is right. The problem is, what’s right for me may not be right for the majority of the country. When it comes to governmental policies, I try to think about the future. If I believe in an issue, I look at it two ways. If I’m right, is the future better for the next generations? If I’m wrong, will this hurt future generations? It’s a simple formula and it works for most issues.
And with religion, where to begin? If I’ve learned anything over the last fifty odd years, it’s that anyone can make the Bible say whatever they want it to say. I have to interpret the words for myself. This is probably true for other religious texts but I happen to be most versed in the Bible. In regards to religious issues, I go with the easy way and the way I believe to be true. I try to base my spirituality on love. If it’s not about love, it’s not about God. Thank you for those beautiful words Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. That just about sums it up for me. I can be courageous if I know that I am acting with a compassionate and generous heart.
In the future, I vow to be more courageous. From today forward, I’ll look at the rules and consider how I feel about them. I’ll trust my gut feeling and consider what my next step should be. I’ll step out courageously and consider how my little act might make a little change in the world.