6.09.2010

Where art thou courage?



(From Merriam-Webster) COURAGE:
Pronunciation: \ˈkər-ij, ˈkə-rij\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English corage, from Anglo-French curage, from quer, coer heart, from Latin cor — more at heart
Date: 14th century
: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

I'm wondering if courage isn't only defined by what difficulty we overcome or persevere through, but also by the strength to know when the danger or fear is to 'rest' in the face of harried life nearing burn out.  
The quandary is when to say when and figure out not just a way to plow through but perhaps a way to refuel.  Possibly refuel for the sake of mental and physical health.  Or is courage trudging through, in hopes the fuel in the tank (though red light indicates low) takes me to the destination.  
Courage is a very strange thing.  I've been told it took courage to leave everything behind and take myself to treatment, to get help, to come clean.  I've been told it takes courage to tell the truth, to be honest with oneself and others.  I've been told it takes courage to be the wife of a police officer and then courage to take care of a sick spouse.  I've been told it takes courage to go back to school when all the other responsibilities of parenting and random jobs to make ends meet vie for every inch of the hours of the day.  
I've not been a courageous person through most of my life, mostly because I didn't know how to be, i knew how to hold back or fear failure or even feel like a failure before attempting something.  I was well versed at numbing, sabotaging, and running away- actions which i would not call courageous.  
Soliloquy aside, might courage be also found in choosing to rest and refuel?
How does one know when to say when and take a halftime break- listen to the coach, remember the plays one is supposed to implement on the field to avoid getting tackled on the way to the finish line?  And when to trudge through, all energy expended but knowing there is more, there can always be more than we think inside us?
Relating more to "One Flew Over Cuckoo's Nest" than a protagonist tale like "Field of Dreams" or some such seeker-ish movie to describe one's life through film- I know i don't want to go 'there' again.  Perhaps part of courage is knowing one's limitations.  Perhaps there is a language to letting go of expectations of self- as much as others. Perhaps I'm still learning that language, learning how to be courageous enough to pause, regroup, hear a pep talk or two, and carry on...


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