Monday, June 15
In the course of a day I use a lot of fonts. Big fonts. Little fonts. Long fonts. Short fonts. Depending on the project I’m working on maybe several different fonts in one layout.
I’ve noticed lately that my use of courage is a lot the same. Some days I need a mix of nerve, valor, and daring:
“With all due respect, sir, it’s not okay with me if you yell at an old woman.”
Having survived abusive situations in the past I find it difficult to watch people mistreat others, or be cruel to animals. During a neighborhood misunderstanding I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing between a crying eighty-four-year-old woman and a loud guy with a shovel. She made a mistake and took her irrigation water at the wrong time. He was not amused. His words, and his shovel, were menacing. Every instinct within me yelled out that I had as much reason to be afraid as the woman—the guy was big and mean. But my conscience wouldn’t allow me to passively stand by.
I was determined not to return anger for anger, yet I had no idea what to say to him. Somewhere deep inside my soul fear was overridden and words poured forth, a torrent of truth.
“Sir, I don’t think you should be proud of what you said to that woman, what you called her. I’m sure deep down you’re a better person than that. How would you like it if someone treated your mother that way?”
I was taking a gamble that he carried even a shred of devotion for anyone of the female persuasion.
Half an hour later, when I was inside the old woman’s house attempting to comfort her, he came to the door with a box of cute note cards, a gift for the woman. He stammered an apology to her and turned to me.
“You were right. I wouldn’t want anyone to treat my mother that way.”
When I attempted to rescue a kitten being beaten by its owner, the results were not the same. I was glad I had my husband to back me up—he’s a big tough firefighter who can look mean when occasion calls for it.
Once in a while I need a smidgen of daring in order to accomplish something others might take for granted. “All right everyone!” Scream. Shriek. “You know I how I hate spiders but I am going to move toward it and step on it.” (Yes, this is a true story). I did kill the thing—with a shoe on the end of a broom and me standing on a chair.
Sometimes, my courage needs to last for hours. Like when my son suffered debilitating sub ventricular tachycardia and had to undergo a risky procedure on his heart while he was wide awake. This is what I typed into my AlphaSmart: “I am sitting in the family waiting room at the hospital while you have your procedure . . . I wish it was me in there instead of you.”
Often I find the need to keep up a level of courage that will propel me from bed each morning—versus a lack of it that would leave me cowering under the covers. Being married to a fireman isn’t easy; life and death are always on stage. And with the world the way it is, ever changing and filled with turmoil, illness, and economic woes, it seems there has never been more to be afraid of.
Yet I choose to believe that there’s also never been more reason to be happy.
I’ve lived long enough to know that being able to get out of bed in the morning is a blessing. So is seeing the sun rise over misted mountaintops, smelling the flowers in my garden, feeling I’ve been of use because I’ve helped in some small way, or the peace I enjoy when—despite fear—I know I’ve done my best—despite the odds—to have courage.
Be it big, little, long, or short.