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!