Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Friday, October 31, 2014

31 Days of Courage: Tip Of The Iceberg Of A Beautiful Virtue

I started this 31 day challenge with the confession that I am indeed the world's biggest chicken.  I've actively worried about how I would hold up under extreme duress, and if my faith would survive some of the world's pummeling's and storms.

But I guess the best thing to do in the face of our own misgivings about our strength to endure is to throw ourselves into trusting the Bravest of All in each moment.  Most of us won't face being held in an Iranian prison or being burned at the stake like Joan of Arc or trapped in the Arctic like Ernest Shackleton.  The truth (and I hope this blog has been a bit of a window into this truth) is that courage for everyday folks is a matter of one step at a time in a long race.  One moment of holding on to light in the midst of darkness, followed by one instant of being glad despite the trouble spinning about you, stepping into one occasion of building a bridge, defying the villain of fear.

These 31 days have passed so quickly.  I am sad to see them go.  I have learned and grown, and been forced to be honest with myself as I've tried to put into practice what is so much easier to write about than to do. Like every one of you, I've confronted discouragement, laziness and pride from the first of this month to the last.  I've had to decide in life's small moments to let go of my reputation, to see the loveliness in each person with whom I share my days, and to press on when I'd rather sit tight.

There were days when I sat at this keyboard (well, not so much this one but the one that died at around day 24) and wondered what the next sub-topic would be in the vast universe of courage.  The One who instructed me to write always provided something to write about.  I never worried what anyone thought, because I knew from the start this was simply following God's prompting.  I noticed more than ever the courage of those I love during these weeks: 2 friends with terminal cancer living life well to the end; people I work with giving their all and going home to give a little more to their families; a husband who keeps joy alive with everyday pain...and so much and so many more.

I have only written what I have found from my own small perspective as a middle aged woman from a western culture living an often, but not always routine life in an age of cynicism and spiritual darkness.  My perspective on courage is limited and skewed, but it is none the less honest.  Still, the frustration is that I don't have the skill to truly express the exquisite allure of this excellent, beautiful virtue in all its glory.  It is all of us, together, stretching on beyond our dread and doing the next right thing that will display the radiance of courage to a cold, frightened world.  In all the small acts of bravery we employ every day, the world becomes warmer and lovelier.

Though I wrote these words for God, and God knows, for myself, I have been greatly encouraged by those of you who have spoken to me, written to me and encouraged me along this 31 day stretch along the pilgrim road.  Thank you so much for giving me courage.  I know heaven will reveal that these small, tender kindnesses were part of making me less chicken-hearted and hopefully a little more like Jesus.

So, onward and upward friends.  This little drop in the bucket of discovering courage is just a beginning.  This tip of the iceberg hopefully makes all of us want to keep running the race, everyday.
I'm thinking this might become an annual tradition with a different topic each year.  In the meantime, perhaps a little less writing than every day, but a little more than once a week.  I need a break, but vacations should never be permanent.

"Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9

Courage friends, in the big and the small.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


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