How do we measure courage? I guess it very much depends on your mind-set. There are so many ways that it can be measured. We all hear stories about the loss of lives in our armed forces whilst serving overseas; sadly this is a measure of their courage after the loss of life. Unselfishness whilst serving their last thought being the safety of those around them. War time medals of valour giving for the enormous courage shown. Bravery or courage differs in fortitude in a crisis situation. Bravery is a deliberate choice to go from a place of safety to danger or remain in a perilous position to provide help.
There is the fight for life if we are diagnosed with a life-shattering illness such as cancer, as we embark on a series of treatment. Uphill battles that can feel as if the struggle will become too much, that we are never going to get that all clear. Not forgetting those that show so much dignity, with the knowledge that for them the battle is now lost. Their only thoughts turning to ease the pain of those they will leave behind.
Then there is the courage shown so often of a young family having to prepare for that loss. Going forward with the firm belief that no matter what it takes, they are willing to give all that’s asked of them. Making sure their children have a guided hand in their journey towards acceptance of the appending future. This is no easy task whilst dealing with the grief of a young mind, not fully understanding the logistics of everything going on around them. Once more this shows strength and courage in yet another guise. Putting aside their grief for the sake of the nurturing feeling within that should never be underestimated.
It can be a walk into the unknown by some, leaving for distant lands to help those that are on the edge of starvation with no help it seems in sight. But even with that knowledge on board, many take a leap of faith into the unknown to make a difference. Sure that their efforts will change the tide of destruction and death. Happy to face the enormous task they will find themselves facing.
All of the above equate to the point I am trying to put across. I am absolutely not trying to compare, or saying that either one of the above scenarios is the front-runner. Every one of them shows immense fortitude. We can’t put a yardstick on courage or measure it by standard by using a comparison.
But there is another show of strength that sometimes goes unnoticed. Why because so often it’s too uncomfortably to talk about, or it is met by critical judgement. But the courage faced by those that have been abused is up there with the best of them. I stand before you personally a testament to that fact. It takes courage to even admit you need help. It takes enormous courage to bare your soul to a complete stranger. In my experience the first endeavour sadly never holds fast. This then only compounds our innermost thoughts, justifying within us that we are in a battle that we will never win.
The fight becomes harder each time that happens. During our lifetime we walk past many doors that are not entered, we choose not to walk through them but they were always there. So how do we find the courage to enter in the knowledge that for us it may be the wrong door? The answer has to be the acceptance within us that it may take a little while. If we take a look at our ever day lives many times we fail at the first attempt, but that does not stop us trying again.
Life is precious and until we stop in our tracks neither being pushed from behind or hindered from the front, we are not living in the here and now. We will continue on through wasting this precious gift of life. Tough words I know; but they are the reality. It matters not whom our abuser may have been, it matter greatly that they are still present within us affecting our lives. We need to find the strength and firmness of mind; resolute endurance has always been with us and should never be in doubt. The fact that you are here reading my words for me puts that question beyond reproach.
Courage against the enemy – for us it is found in a passive courage, one that means we can move forward without the need to feel that we are at war within. The alternative is to carry on along the road of darkness inadvertently tearing pieces from ourselves; they have to be discarded. Cast off never to be salvaged. That’s a fight in which we will never win.
Sitting here I find myself wondering why it took me so long to understand all of the above. But without doubt we are back there with my old friend time. That’s a tough nut to crack and one that you alone will know when it’s time to face. I walked through many doors to reach the place that I now find myself in. One of complete understanding that I was only ever in mortal combat with myself and the demons within – my abuser had left many years ago. I am by no means the oracle and if I have any words of wisdom; they come from the journey I had to take. I am not the bravest soul in the world; my courage comes from the peace now within me. By this I mean that at some point you will walk through the right door, but only by entering a few along the way that holds nothing for you. They may even take something from you that you don’t understand.
We are well aware from many episodes seen both in the past or present day that whilst too fractions won’t back down, then unfortunately war is the only outcome. Unfortunately this also this rings true with a mind that is in turmoil. But if you use the best strategy the war can be won. For many that may mean that it becomes a particularly long-term plan for success, but you will be moving in the right direction that’s what matters. The day will come when you will stand proud as a conscientious objector, knowing that you have walked away to a new life triumphant . . .