Remember the every-day courageous

January 1, 2015

This hangs in sister-in-love’s house.

I’m going to spare you the pleasure of reading yet another piece about the turning of the page, fresh starts, resolutions. Here’s something a little different for the first day of 2015.

Courage is something we associate with soldiers. With law enforcement and fire fighters and others who put their lives on the line every day.  I agree–those are definitely some courageous folk.

There’s another kind of courage, too, and we can see it if we just look around. Every day there are people in our worlds who show us this other kind of courage.  Every day courage.

But sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, we look past them.  So today, on a day when most of us are at home, it might be a good time to step back and take in the whole horizon of the world around us.  Here’s a start:

  • The single parent struggling to make a life for their family.
  • Children in hospitals everywhere trying to get well enough to live to go to a prom.
  • The unemployed who pound the pavement (or the keyboard) seeking work day after day, unfailingly, even as they face one rejection after another.
  • The cold and hungry homeless, who find ways to survive against the odds. Especially in winter.
  • Those living with a mental illness, who know their view of the world is flawed but who walk on anyway, day after day.
  • Those undergoing debilitating treatments for serious disease, who fight the good fight every single day.
  • Disabled and chronically ill people who light up the world with their courage, despite challenges that others wouldn’t survive.
  • Grieving parents who know that it is not natural for children to die first, but who find a way to go on with the rest of their lives.

I see courageous people all around me and wonder how I got lucky, how I managed to live into my 60s without having my courage tested. And I wonder if I’d rise to the occasion if I needed to. Because maybe I’m not that courageous. Lord knows I don’t want to test that assumption.

But here’s the thing:  While I can’t help but empathize with these courageous souls, I also admire them. Their lives inspire me in ways both large and small.

I AM lucky and I have always felt the need to do something for  those who have had to face difficult situations that are (thankfully) foreign to me. To make life a little easier for courageous souls, even if it’s just providing a laugh or two or three.

The holiday giving season is over. But in these next 11 months, let’s not forget that there are still courageous souls who need our help.  So what can we do?

We can start by noticing that they are there. In our lives.

Maybe all we can do is a small gesture: a kind word. A note of encouragement. A phone call.  Small gestures, but meaningful ones.

Perhaps we can connect a job seeker with professional friends who might have advice or even a job.

Got some old career clothes that can be donated to a Career Closet charity?  I’m still doing this, as I realize that no, I’m not going to ever wear that suit again. Ever.

Or maybe we can buy a few sweatshirts on sale and give them to an organization serving the homeless this winter. We were with one of our neighbors when he did this a few years ago and now, we do it, too.  He hit a sale at Old Navy just right and scored a big haul that kept some homeless people warm that winter.

Another idea: make a charitable donation in an off-month, an unexpected time of year.   Like March, for example. Or July.

You get the idea.

Christmas may be over and it’s not Giving Tuesday, but giving is something we can do all year around. And it starts by noticing the courage and inspiration all around us.

What will you do this coming year for the courageous people you see around you?

This post is part of a bloghop hosted by Chloe of the Mountain. Check out the other entries!


21 comments on “Remember the every-day courageous
  1. I like your various colored fonts! But more on topic, I like the idea of supporting courageous people all year long and not just at the holidays. I’m trying to do better about validating people and witnessing to their strengths in each exchange I have with another person. Thanks for the nudge.

  2. Marilyn Wolf says:

    I hear what you’re saying. I have some friends who are going some terrible things right now. Sometimes courage is just getting out of bed.

    It can be really easy to help. Go to a thrift shop and plan on spending a fixed amount of money. You can get a ton of stuff and give it away. Sometimes you can get an even better bargain by asking to buy all of a category. I bought all the prescription glasses in a box. $40 for more than 100 pairs of glasses which I donated. $25 for more than 50 sheets which I donated to a teen shelter.

    Courage is the ability to keep your feet from moving when the rest of you is running away.
    (author unknown)

  3. beth says:

    Carol, your post really hit home with me. A friend/co-worker of mine lost her teen-age son unexpectedly in 2014. I know it was a devastating and unfathomable loss. Yet, she manages to come into work everyday with a smile and friendliness and is such a bright spot to my day.

    I recently told her how much I admire her for that — to which she shared that she cries every day on her drive home. What a courageous soul she is to not be mean-spirited or angry or ugly to others (which would be totally understandable) but instead chooses to be our joy every day!

    Thanks for your post!

  4. Diane says:

    My goal this year is to have more courage! What great suggestions for the courageous among us!

  5. Alana says:

    I know too many of the everyday courageous people. My best friend has been battling a deadly cancer (low survival rate, statistically) the last two years. Another good friend was diagnosed with cancer this past week. My sister in law lost her job right after Thanksgiving. My mother in law struggles with the physical decline caused by aging. A 102 year old in-law relative lost most of her independence this past year due to a fall an broken hip. All of them show tremendous courage every day, and I do what I can to support them in some way, no matter if large or small. Thank you for this reminder.

  6. Joan Stommen says:

    Beautiful, Carol. I had to find my own courage……and that has helped me see it in others. We can give our ears to listening, arms for hugging and our hearts for empathy to those in need. Wonderful words to fill my first page today!

  7. Your beautiful description of courage, Carol, makes my goal to be more courageous this year seem so small to me. But, that is what I think I tend to do is live small and I want to take few more risks this year…so that is why my goal is to live with more courage….but there are so many amazing women living courageously every day…my niece raising three boys and battling cancer is one of those….my 22 year old former student who just became a leukemia survivor has way more courage than I do…even my daughter moving to the other side of the world in 40 days with two babies to support her husband….they are like the ones you describe here…really courageous. Anything I try to do pales in comparison.

  8. I love this post! I just wrote in my New Year’s Day blog that I truly think 2015 will be the year of the kinder, gentler person. I think we are tired of being angry and belligerent. I have high hopes for 2015 and kindness and courage. Beautiful post.

  9. The courageous people in everyday life are the ones who I am most impressed by over and over. I have learned to consider what may be going on in people’s lives when I run across someone who seems cranky or unhappy. I assume there’s always more to the story, and it keeps me from being cranky back at them.

  10. Courage surrounds us daily. All we need do is open our eyes. And, I cannot believe you have never been tested….haven’t we all?

  11. I think we need to spend more time celebrating courageous people like the ones you mention rather than celebrities and athletes. The world could be a totally different place if we changed our role models.

  12. Love these giving back ideas. And I especially love the caption “sister in love.” So sweet!

  13. I’m still trying to figure that one out. More than last year, I do know that!

  14. Another fine post, Carol…

    I’ve no doubt you’ve put your courage to work in some form or another; maybe in some form when you chose to leave the corporate world?

    Courage and I are joined at the hip; I find her to be one of our greatest assets. I’ve written about her many times… Might I share one post?

    I like to think courage shows up in BIG and little ways, but always there, helping us take on new challenges and resolve conflicts…

    Thanks for another fine reflection… BTW, I also like the different colored lines of text.. 😉

    Happy New Year, Carol!

  15. Nina says:

    Great post! Thanks so much for the inspiration and encouragement. I pray that we all will look beyond our own daily struggles to see those around us who need a gentle word. I appreciate your thoughtful and insightful post. Stopping by from the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop at Katherine’s Corner. Hope to catch up with you again this week at the hop! Nina @ Vintage Mama’s Cottage and Ruby for Women

  16. Cathy says:

    I love this! Living in gratitude and doing small things for others keeps our own thoughts positive never know how much a small gesture can mean to another. I was looking through self help books at the local bookstore and someone put a “sticky note” on an inside page that said “you are perfect just the way you are”. That made me smile all day. I left it there for the next person….It’s the little things that mean the most. Pay it forward. And p.s. you are all courageous and beautiful. I’m talking to you. Thanks Carol.

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