Annemarie admitted to herself, snuggling there in the dark, that she was glad to be an ordinary person who would never be called upon for courage. (from Number The Stars by Lois Lowry)
I have loved Number the Stars since we read it in my fifth grade class. It so beautifully portrays the idea that ordinary people are called upon for courage all the time, but by the time the courage is needed, they find they have it. When Annemarie comforts herself with the thought that she will never need to be courageous she doesn’t know that she already has the courage it will take for her to fight through her own fear for the sake of another person.
I see this kind of courage all around me all the time. From ordinary people. Some of them sign up for the job, knowing they will need courage to complete it: firefighters, soldiers, police officers, and middle school teachers come to mind. Others just feel very ordinary, maybe even they hope courage will never be required of them. But eventually it is required of all of us. Sometimes it takes courage just to stay married or to be a friend. Maybe your child gets sick or maybe your parent does. Maybe you lose everything and have to start from scratch. Maybe you witness bullying or abuse. Maybe you find that you must learn the word “no.” Maybe you lose someone you’ve loved for so long or someone you wish with all your might you could have known longer. Maybe you sit in a doctor’s office letting a dreaded diagnosis sink in. Maybe you submit to test after test and no diagnosis exists for you. Eventually it will happen to you. But you will find the courage you need. You will.
You already have it. And you already know where to get more of it, don’t you? I have always loved the word “encourage.” I picture lending some courage to someone who needs it. Hasn’t someone done this for you? When was the last time you lended courage to someone else?
Ordinary people need courage all the time. Today you might be able to lend some. Tomorrow you may need to borrow some. Which brings me to quote #2 for today:
You saved me once, and what is given is always returned. We are in this world to help one another. (From The Adventures of Pinnochio by C. Collodi)