Comments on Courage

This small story illustrates courage better than almost anything else I can think of today. I learned so much from my kids as they grew up (and continue to do so as they move through adulthood) and this lesson has stuck with me, even heartened me when I’ve had my own scary demons to conquer.

She stood there, shivering. At the end of a line of fidgety 4-year-olds, I watched her long slender body literally shake from fear. Arms pulled tightly against her body, hands clasped in front of her chest, she was dripping wet from the nearby shower. It was the height of summer in the east San Gabriel Valley, so the air was more than warm. But I knew she was cold as ice on the inside.

I sat in the bleachers of the high school swimming pool with my toddler boy while my girls took their swimming lessons. Elder daughter loved the water, jumped in heartily and was already swimming laps. Younger daughter lived another reality altogether. The water mystified and terrified her. Her eyes were as big as saucers as she faced down her fears. Slowly, she moved forward in the line and I could see her eyes shimmering with unshed tears.

Silently, I prayed: “Lord, have mercy on this, your small daughter. Help her to move through her fear and find the joy that waits as she discovers that water can be her friend, even her refuge in this hot summer sun. Guard her fierce heart as she readies herself, Lord. Still her and steel her by your grace!”

As she neared the lip of the pool, the trembling slowly increased. Thankfully, the young teacher was sensitive and kind, offering encouragement with words and open arms. And off she went – jumping into the abyss of her deepest fears. Gasping as she surfaced, she turned to find my eyes in the stands. “See, Mom,” she seemed to say. “I am a brave girl.” Yes indeed, my darling daughter – you are a very brave girl indeed.

Joining with Elizabeth today at with some reflections on courage


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