Courage

Welcome back friends,

Today I would like to share an incident that occurred this past weekend which shows that when you actually try living by some of the precepts I have been advocating, you begin to find reinforcement and support in some of the most unlikely places.

Between my day job as a juvenile center Director and my private practice in the evenings, I don’t have a lot of free time during the week to accomplish the handful of errands that arise calling for attention. In fact, most Saturdays I have clients booked all morning and into the early afternoon. However, this past Saturday, I had intentionally left open because of the US holiday weekend.

So, Saturday rolled around and, although I had personal business appointments, I was actually able to sleep in for a change, an opportunity of which I took full advantage. To make a long story reasonably short, I woke up late and in the throes of a bad hair day. No problem; I grabbed my wallet, checkbook, keys and a hat and I began running around town like a busy bee.

It turns out the first hat I grabbed was my “US Air Force Retired” ball cap. I don’t usually wear that hat, especially when I’m trying to remain low profile because it seems to prompt total strangers to come up to me at odd and often inconvenient times to say, “Thank you for your service”. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s nice that some people feel genuinely compelled to say something by a sense of patriotism and gratitude, but you can see that for most of these ‘well-wishers’, for whatever reason, the smile rarely reaches their eyes. It’s still better than getting spat upon.

So, it’s middle afternoon on a hot and muggy Saturday and I find myself standing in a queue with 10 to 12 other people. The guy standing behind me (not to stereotype, but a burly, bearded, biker type) taps me on the shoulder and said, “Thank you for your service brother. What did you do and where were you stationed”; a sure sign the other person is a veteran as well. It turns out he was also an Air Force Vet with a remarkably similar background to mine. My new friend and I lowered our voices and began to swap ‘There I was’ stories from similar postings and circumstances.

In the midst of the conversation, the guy in front of me, who had obviously been listening said, “Thank you guys for your service but where do you get the courage to do that day after day? I’d be petrified”.

I have a ‘pre-recorded’ answer to that, but my new friend beat me to it and I think he said it far better than I could have. He said, “Courage isn’t not being afraid. When the crap starts to fly, if you’re sphincter isn’t clamped shut, you either don’t understand the situation or you’re a psycho. Courage is being scared shitless, but you get up and do your job anyway; not for God and country, but for the guys who are protecting your backside.”

I couldn’t have said it better, and if you think about it, what my friend said applies to all of us every day. We all have our own private crap-storms, and the media seem to go out of their way to make sure we know the world is a scary and dangerous place, but then again, so is life. In fact, life is so dangerous you’re not going to make it out alive…guaranteed.

So, the question you have to ask yourself is, “Am I going to allow my fears and insecurities to define me or am I going to stand up and get the job done anyway?” Because

The Choice is Always Yours

Rich

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