I witnessed this on Saturday.
You might wonder if I was at a sporting event. No.
Perhaps some other type of competition? No.
I witnessed courage when 65 adult learners individually took the stage to read a portion of a story they each had written.
These adults have learned what many never are able to and most who know how take for granted.
Before you castigate them for not paying attention in school when they had the chance to learn, you might want to hear some of their stories. Learning English as a second language. Too poor to attend school (in any country) during the era they grew up. Learning disabilities in a time when the only words linked to disability were “stupid” or “retard”. Had to work to help the family because he was the oldest son and that’s just what you did in those days.
They each had a dream. To read. To write. In English.
Their courage was (and is) inspirational to me. There were many rounds of applause. There were tears shed. There were photos taken. There was success.
Yes, that’s it. The one trait needed for success. Courage.
I don’t know about you, but when I am in the middle of something that is really hard, frightening even, I don’t think about being courageous. I either sit and wallow in self-pity or I try to make a change to the situation. I don’t think about courage.
But it’s courage that moves us forward and keeps us from being stuck.
Courage: the ability to do something that frightens one.
These 65 adults showed courage in front of hundreds. They showed courage for their families to witness. In their courage, we were encouraged. Many of them gave thanks to God for giving them the courage to learn. To read. To be on stage. Hundreds of pairs of hands applauded. Voices cheered. Smiles and tears abounded.
Encourage: to give one confidence, support, hope.
So really it boils down to two things: we are either at the present facing something we are needing courage to get through or we are in the position to give confidence, support or hope. Or maybe we can be doing both?
If you are lacking courage today, you are not alone. When I was at a very low point last fall, I reached out to others who needed to be encouraged. I became a literacy volunteer. It was something I knew and understood when all around me didn’t make sense. I could give time and talent and experience to build up someone else.
Jesus knew what He was talking about when He said It is more blessed to give than to receive. I was able to give my time, but just the way a with-God life is, I received so much more. I knew someone needed my presence weekly when I knew no one in this area. I was inspired by the perseverance of the learners; coming week after week taking time out of busy lives to practice and practice and practice something most of us have taken for granted for decades.
I was able to encourage when discouragement came lurking. I received encouragement that I wasn’t expecting.
No matter what you are going through you can find someone else who needs something you have to offer: encouragement.
Courage. This is a great week to think about what it takes to look fear in the face and step forward. Jesus did that very thing. He showed us His fear and desire to not have to go through what He was facing as He prayed in the garden. If He didn’t show courage, where would we be?
This week, reflect on the thing(s) that frighten you. Reflect on the thing that frightened Jesus. Be reminded that as His follower You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
GO in His courage.
ENcourage someone today! Then pop back over to share!