I often speak about having the courage to challenge the status quo. Recently, in a personal experience, I realized how blinded I am to real courage and how little courage I actually have. I witnessed an example of real courage that makes the courage I need each day pale in comparison.
My wife and I frequently attend mass at St. Francis on Sunday morning and I began to notice on numerous occasions, a middle-aged man who is blind. What surprises me is that when we begin the Holy Communion to receive the bread and the wine, he doesn’t remain seated. Each row, starting with the first row, files into the center aisle and follow each other up to the alter where we receive the blessed sacraments. Then we walk back to our pew on the opposite side and kneel until everyone has partaken of Holy Communion. Now, this man rises and follows his row (usually unassisted) to the center, and makes his way to the front and partakes of the bread and wine as everyone else does, then finds his way back to his seat.
He uses a long cane to find his way in front of him. He moves very slowly and methodically, but it is obvious he has an incredible desire to participate like everyone else. He could sit on the back row and have the sacraments brought to him, but he doesn’t. How much courage does this take?
So I am slowly recognizing how special this man’s courage really is, and then…
I am in the gym last week, running on the treadmill, trying to get my 4 miles in – patting myself on the back for having the discipline to work on my health and put myself through this pain. As I leave the treadmill, I begin to walk across the gym and I see this guy sitting on a bike and pedaling away with a huge smile on his face. So I begin to think, man, he is enjoying this exercise stuff a lot more than I am. As I get closer, I recognize him, the same blind guy from church! Then I notice his long cane leaned up against the bike. Wow, what courage this man has every day to live life to its fullest.
That was the day I realized how embarrassed I am about my personal struggle to find the courage to do some of the things we are doing, to make hard decisions and to deal with all of the uncertainty in today’s economic world. It pales in comparison to the courage this gentleman shows every day in pursuit of a full life. As I wrote this blog, I became even more embarrassed because I don’t know his name. I have not introduced myself and thanked him for his inspiration. I will get that corrected.
In the meantime, I hope this helps you find the courage to face the professional and personal challenges we all face every day. Let’s demonstrate the courage to collaborate. Let’s be fearless in our communication around flexibility. Let’s be fearless in our commitments to each other. Let’s have the courage to seek and accept feedback to be better. Let’s find our personal courage and live our life to the fullest. Let’s not let our personal challenges blind us to what real courage looks like.