"COURAGE is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because, as has been said, it is the quality which guarantees all others." Sir Winston Churchill
In 2012, I began to walk on a courage-journey. It was a pilgrimage of sorts...for I was a broken, religious woman...with a felt desire to gain greater insight as to how I had allowed fear to dwell in my days like a shrouded figure that had a chair at my table, a pillow on my bed, and a key to the back door. I had given space for fear to rule the dialogues in my marriage, in my parenting, and in my responses to the life-events that occurred within the family paradigm. I had listened to fear's definition of my gifts, my intellect, my considerations, and my heart-cries. I rallied around fear as my growing children began to squirm and balk at the rigidity of our child-rearing. I placed a crown on fear as I became a secret-keeper in my marriage. I felt fear towards the truth, around reality... and held fear's hand as we walked to and from a world of illusion.
I lived in the Land of Illusion for 30 years.
The evil one, the greatest illusionist of all time, varnished truth and rallied for dishonesty within the painted walls of my ranch house. The smoke and the mirrors were shrouded with pine armoires and chintz-covered wing-backs. The built-in bookshelves were filled with the liturgy of the pious....the heady dialogue of great theologians which all seem to say, "I have no sin...you do."
Performance and edifying behavior were the crop I desired. But the seeds I would hurl to the wind were seeds that stole congruity and choked the root growth of any authentic, human response.
I measured my crop by height and shine....but the fruit was lifeless, dry, and impotent.
Courage was what it took to take a good, long look. A therapist suggested that I walk back and look from the beginning...she would walk with me. She reminded me that my fear would still be present in my courage. She invited me to look clearly at the places where I had pulled down the shades...where I had refused to look.
A perceiving view is one that allows Light to enter in. Add rigorous honesty to the task, and the authentic voice can once again speak from the gut. As normal, human emotions can be allowed to flow and direct the dialogue, real healing can enter the room. When the looking happens in a regular, therapeutic pattern, habit is formed. Cognition (knowledge + experience) grows.
I have needed courage to do this work...and I will continue to need it; not everyone appreciates the honesty of saying what is.....what was. But fear is a bully....making victims quite impotent in their responses as it promotes SAFE instead of true. I, like Mr. Churchill, have realized that "to try to be safe everywhere is to be strong nowhere."