But there are lots of other things that take courage. Relationships take courage, both to stay in--and weather the difficulties inherent in any partnership, or to leave--to live with the finality of failure. Humility takes courage--not to be defensive but self-effacing in a positive way. Gratefulness takes courage--to see past all the hardships of life to thankfulness.
It generally takes courage to do anything that goes against our more usual instincts; to quit that safe job; to eat that unusual food; to spend money on something that may seem extravagant; to pursue that life's dream.
As often as not, it takes as much or more courage not to do something as it does to do it. Alcoholics have taken a courageous step toward a better life by giving up something they love--by not drinking.
Courage and faith kind of go hand in hand. By having the courage to go against my instincts, I need a certain amount of faith that I am going to end up in a place, or with another action, that is where I might rather be. For example, I have a kind of readiness to get angry when something deserving of anger comes my way, but when I over ride that tendency, the results are far more productive and peaceful than when I rant and rave.
I have been trying to maintain the courage to just "be" this summer. To let go of the many things that have been cluttering my head for the past several years. It is unfamiliar. I am guilt ridden sometimes. I am confused and feel scared and at loose ends now and again. And I don't feel all that courageous. I just feel what I suspect most people feel when they are trying to be brave in the face of the unknown; I feel challenged. It is hard and feels a bit unfair--as though I have to keep my upper lip stiff while others cavalierly chug along in live.
It feels like injustice and injustice makes me angry--makes most of us angry, I would guess. But to get rid of injustice we don't need anger, we need justice. We need to act. The same is true for peace (peace in the world around us, peace in our hearts): to get peace we don't need war, we need peace. To find a deeper inner peace, I need to act more peaceful. Just like if everyone who claimed they are peace loving were actually peaceful, I suspect that most war would disappear. But that takes courage.
Let's hope that someday we can all be that brave.