It came to me the other day that to be happy was sometimes an act of courage. The idea surprised me enough to keep me thinking about courage for days. If being happy can be a bold counter cultural statement about being loved in the face of loud messages that beg to differ, what else might courage look like?
Like my mother before me, there is nothing so comforting in a trial or helpful in a confusion, as a list. A work in progress, but here’s where I’ve come so far.
Acts of courage:
1. To be happy. (i.e. to act as one who is unmistakably beloved and secure in the love)
2. To be hopeful when logical reasons for such sentiment seem lacking. (13.5 years into mothering, no child yet gives a hoot about cleaning their rooms or taking care of possessions, theirs or others. My attempts at book publication repeatedly miss the mark. And yet.)
3. To believe that I can change and become the person I have repeatedly failed to become. (Despite my elite level skills in flippant, sarcastic, and caustic remarks, I will someday be free of those crutches.)
4. To believe that others can change and become the person they dream of becoming. (I build the boxes I put people in too small. The timing of when they rise up to overcoming is not my concern. The least I can do is leave the lids off.)
5. To believe that failure does not define people. Me, or anybody else. (Failure, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. No matter who sees it or says it, apt or not, it remains separate from our value as human beings.)
6. To believe that others are doing the best they can and to make this the underlying premise and starting point for every relationship I have. (I cannot logically believe this 100% of the time, but I cannot see what there would be to lose for acting as if it were true the 5% of the time it isn’t.)
7. To start each day with no strings attached, a day of new beginnings devoid of the weight of yesterdays dead ends, engine troubles, and thirty car pile ups.
That’s as deep as I’ve dug so far. I’m going to mine the hill a little longer in case there’s something I missed that applies to now. Then again, it might be enough of a challenge already.