Courage, strength, honor. Words distinguishing a high instance of integrity and bravery. Words we adorn the best of our military with. Use in a sorrowful farewell to a life well lived. But these are not inherent qualities to man. One is not born courageous, can occasionally display strength in utero, and certainly has done nothing to exhibit honor in the first few hours of life. For these are all virtues which require living life and more often than not, overcoming significant obstacles.
Sick people are given a very quick crash course in overcoming obstacles. Pretty soon, no matter the age of the individual or prognosis of the illness, one must decide if they are going the strong, courageous and honorable route or…well…the other way. There are many times in my life I was afraid, fearful, unable to face my reality. Sometimes I would cry and crumble. Other times I would bite my fingernails to the quick and stand frozen stiff, knees knocking. But more often then not I decided to mentally override my fear and forced myself to face the source of such insane apprehension. And overcome it. For if it is to be, it is up to me, is it not?
Algebra. I am the worst person in the world at math. So my first semester of college, when I learned one must be algebra proficient to earn a bachelors degree, well I decided it was not for me. College and the degree. For there was no way in the world I would pass the required college algebra course. But a lady I babysat for had a degree in accounting and a big huge bucket of patience. She tutored me from x+8=9 all the way up to the passing C grade required to move on to the infinitely more interesting art classes which comprised my major. Couldn’t tell you much more than x=1 today, but somehow I got through and earn that degree I did! Guns. They scared the crap out of me. So I learned how to shoot them. Load, hold, aim and fire. Then I hung my college algebra book up as a target and found immense satisfaction. I am now reasonably certain I would not be the homeowner shot by their own gun in a home invasion. So it is with these little baby steps in life, forcing ourselves to face fear, figure out how to overcome it, grab the source of it and rip it’s throat out, that is how courage, honor and strength is born. But just for the record, in all honesty, I can't imagine ever challenging my overwhelming fear of sharks.
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