About a year after I moved to the city I had dinner with a family friend. As we were chatting she commented how courageous it was of me to move to the city. As I stared at her with a confused expression I asked, "Why do you say that?" She responded back that it was a courageous thing to do because I made a huge move that I wasn't entirely sure was one that would make me happy. I made a move away from my comfortable suburban oasis, to a place I was convinced wasn't for me, but I was willing to try it anyhow. I was willing to take the leap of faith knowing that it could quiet very well be an epic fail, which thankfully it has not been.
Courage is displayed in many ways. Today, our Go-To-Gay, Gary Edwards, talks about what courage means to him and how it has been present in his life.
It was a moment so brief and so fast, something that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I was in line at the store and heard a man shouting at a clerk. He was at his breaking point, mad at something I am sure far bigger than his transaction at the store. I understand that, we all have those moments when life can be too much. The only problem was the clerk wasn’t the cause and did not need to be the receiver of his stress. I listened to his abuse until I could not take it any longer; he was going way below the belt and was not letting up. I walked over, pointed my finger and shamed him. I shamed a man 20yrs older than myself in the same way I’m sure his mother scolded him as a child. He was so shocked initially but finally stepped back and slowly returned to this world. I asked him to turn around and look at all of the checkout lines, explaining that everyone in line could hear him. With another “shame on you” he apologized and I quickly said, “Don’t apologize to me, apologize to the clerk. She is a human being and no one deserves to be treated that way.” Dazed and embarrassed at being corrected, he apologized and finished his transaction. As he walked away I gave the young lady a hug and told her that I hoped she knew his anger had nothing to do with her.
Sometimes it comes in small doses and sometimes in a large burst. Life can give us a tough blow and that’s when it sets in: Courage. Are we born with it or do we learn it from others who have led the way? Courage to me is when you live your life with grace. You don’t have to win or lose you just have to suit up and show up. It can be a leap of faith, starting a new career, taking a risk, or looking at fear directly in the eye during a dark time in your life.
I do think often those that lead by example teach us the true meaning of courage. Those are the folks that also teach us grace. Some of my personal heroes:
-My dear friend from St. Louis who never stopped studying, and, with determination, she is now a nurse practitioner. She could have given up many times, but knew for her it was not an option. My eyes swell with tears of pride when I think of what she has done.
-I have watched Wade leave the business world to write and follow his passion. Wade left fear at the door and put on a badge of courage to create the life he dreamed.
-Another friend travels and speaks to huge corporations all over the world (often by herself). She has so bravely overcome many obstacles and is one of the strongest people I know.
-My Father, at age 82, has battled Parkinson’s disease for over a decade. He battles with everything he has including humor. My Dad always taught me “winners never quit and quitters never win.” He always will add, “This doesn’t mean you have to win the race, you just have to finish the race for yourself.”
|Wade's uncle's garden|
I think what all of these people have shown is that, no matter what, we need to have faith in ourselves, faith in life, and in our fellow man. That by believing and treating others and ourselves with dignity the world can be a wonderful place. With courage we can achieve anything!
What acts of courage can you share? Who inspires you to be a better person and to do great things?
Gary Edwards is the marketing and events manager for bestselling author Wade Rouse. Edwards arranges Rouse’s tour schedule, speaking engagements as well as coordinates and facilitates his writing workshops and retreats. Additionally, Edwards has helped market and promote all five of Rouse’s books. Edwards also has a background in hospitality, and sales as well as design. With his vast professional background and a love to listen and help friends he is a perfect storm of love and nurture. Edwards is Martha Stewart meets Dear Abby with a dash of Mrs. Doubtfire. For more, please friend him on Facebook and Twitter.