I saw the movie The Help tonight with my mom. It was a great movie that certainly made me think about courage. Courage means something different to everyone, I think. It’s one of those things that is personal and changes according to the person dealing with it. To simply look the word up in the dictionary you’ll see this:
1. the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.
2. Obsolete. the heart as the source of emotion.
I quite like the second definition actually… “The heart as the source of emotion.” That’s truly what courage is, isn’t it? Listening to your heart and knowing that it’s telling you the right thing even if you’re scared out of your mind or the world around you is telling you that you’re wrong.
Kathyn Stockett, the author of The Help submitted the book sixty times before getting it published by Putnam. Sixty rejection letters, countless rewrites, and yet she didn’t give up. Now she has not only a bestselling novel, but an Oscar-worthy movie based on that novel. Oh and did I mention it’s the first book she ever wrote? That’s courage.
The movie and book The Help are set in the 1960’s right in the thick of the Civil Rights Movement. At one point in the movie Medgar Evers is mentioned. He fought in World War II, fought for civil rights, was instrumental in the desegregation of the University of Mississippi, and was a NAACP field secretary. After his assignation by the KKK, he received full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. He was courage.
On December 24, 1969, only six years after Evers was killed and one year after Dr. Martin Luther King ,Jr. was assassinated for his work in civil rights, a black man and a white woman were married. They faced hatred and bigotry from society as well as their own families, but they went on to have two children, a boy and a girl (said girl happens to be the author of this blog), and showed the world that love has nothing to do with race. They were courage.
People show their courage every day. Sometimes it’s huge, and other times it’s just some small thing that most of the world wouldn’t even notice. What matters though is what that act of courage means to you. If it’s important to you, no matter what anyone else says, it’s courage. If you make a choice that you know with all of your heart is the right thing to do, tell anyone else who thinks differently to screw off. It’s your life, not theirs. You know what your heart needs even when the world is telling you you’re crazy. You might even doubt yourself, but your heart knows exactly what you need while your head is busy trying to talk you out of it. Sometimes you just have to trust your heart to do the thinking. Take a leap and as the definition says, let your heart be the source of your emotion. Don’t give up on the book submission you know could be great, don’t accept laws that don’t make sense and fight to change them, don’t let people tell you who you can love, and don’t let someone else tell you that you aren’t courageous if you know that you are.