A while back, my son took me to see a movie called courageous.  It was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a very long time.  I think the fact that I was hanging out with my son was a huge bonus since we really like each other.  However, the movie was also really good.  It is the impactful story of three law enforcement officers who consistently give their best on the job yet good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. With the process of time they’re quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.  When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering.

The whole movie is about courage and how to live an authentic lifestyle in a world that is becoming more and more difficult.  There are so many of us who are near the end of our ropes.  So many are screaming as if under water where no one seems to be listening.  Everyone seems to be involved in their own drama too preoccupied to pay attention to our muffled voices.  In the midst of this chaos called earth, this movie reminded me that it takes a lot of courage just to live and be real about it.

Courage is not easy to practice.  It’s easier to write about it and to talk about it. Courage is typically lodged deep in the human psyche and only shows up when you need it, if you have it. Courage looks so good when someone else exercises it.  Many don’t have courage and don’t know they don’t have it since they’ve never had to use it.  There’s no school or degree in courage.  It is something that is acquired with time and pain.  No one has time and no one likes pain.  So courage lacks for many.

The lessons from this movie were clear to me.  One of them is life can change abruptly at any moment without warning whether we are ready or not.  When that happens we either apply the courage that we have or we learn to be courageous.  Life is difficult for everyone and its burdens can be heavy.  Yet courage can be developed as we learn to carry these burdens with dignity and hope.  It also strikes me that within those burdens we acquire courage if we are teachable. I also learned that it is easier to be courageous when we are surrendered by the right people or when we belong to a nurturing family or group of friends.

Courage can also be a gift of sorts to prepare us to help those who have no courage at all. Often the challenges we face in life are the classes we must take to become courageous. However whether we learn or not is our choice and responsibility.  To be courageous is to live consciously with authenticity.

I love how Winston Churchill puts it.  “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

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