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Rev. Sandra Schubert

The Long Road to Courage
by Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert

Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.
--Raymond Lindquist

There are people who love to travel.  They take off at the drop of a hat and go.  I am not a good traveler.  Travel is a long uphill climb with heavy bags, stormy weather and bad shoes.  A recent trip to the Disney Resorts in Orlando for a convention was a seven hour travel ordeal followed days later by nine and half hours to get home because of thunder storms.  Of course I was lugging bags up and down subway stairs and running through a torrential downpour with new shoes.  I am thankful for the kindness of strangers who were there to help me when I could not lift my suitcase one more time.  For you traveling may not be a big deal, but for me it is a brave act.  It asks me to leave the familiar and enter alone into a new environment.  A friend of mine had to this to say when I told him about my travel experience, ďAh, how the Spirit moves through our lives to keep us on our toes spiritually.Ē   At the convention a trainer who spends his time driving to work could not fathom the idea that I rode on a New York Subway everyday.  For him that was real courage.

Ask anyone who they think is courageous. They may respond it is soldiers serving their country or fireman and police officers who are in the line of duty. Another person may say it is the teacher who is in a high school in a bad neighborhood.  They might mention their parents or friend.  Very few people would say they are courageous.  Yet just to be alive is to have courage.  We may not be facing down the barrel of a gun or feel the heat of a raging fire but it takes a certain kind of quiet bravery to be alive.  Every day we wake up.  Maybe we are tired.  The kids are crying.  Or there is no one beside us and we wake to an empty bed.  Bearing the sorrows and joys of everyday life asks much of us.  Without some internal strength life could be really difficult.

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

What is courage anyway?  How can it be defined? 

Watching the news we can wonder at the courage it takes to be in a war.  Soldiers are in the line of fire every day.  What is it like for the civilians who donít know when a bomb may end their lives?  We remember those who stayed behind to help others in the Twin Towers.  These are people who have an unusual kind of courage.  But for most of us, we must live with the common and ordinary.

In the Wizard of Oz the characters take the yellow brick road to self-discovery. The Cowardly Lion thought he was without courage on his trip to Oz.  At the end of the road he discovered he always had it except it didnít look like what he imagined.  His idea of bravery was preconceived and kept him from seeing his own daily bravery.  He is goofy, funny and ultimately more courageous then he knows.  We are like that - a little braver then we know.

What gets you up in the morning?  What makes you want to live?  Every day we must decide how we are going to live our life.  It may not be a conscious choice but we make micro choices every moment.  We may not get any medals for our bravery.  That doesnít mean we canít acknowledge our own strengths.  How do we start?


Define what you want your life to be. Giving your life definition allows you a lot of freedom. Second guessing what tomorrow will bring can be exhausting. You can move more easily when you know the road you are on. It doesnít mean you canít be open to the movement of the universe.  With strength we become flexible too.


The greatest act of courage is to face weakness.  Ours.  Others. We must confront disappointments.  The sorrows of life we didnít live.  The projects we didnít complete.  The hardest thing is to face our own insecurities and the ways we have failed.  Dealing with our issues allows us to move on to the things that are really important.  When we arenít saddled with hidden secrets we can begin to live a fuller, richer and more open life. 


Name one thing you have achieved.  It doesnít have to be a huge thing.  Maybe you passed a drivers test, or finished a difficult art project.  Or you got out of bed this morning.  That is always a good first step.  Acknowledge who you are.  A creature with strengths, dreams, wishes and regrets.  You are a person who does get up every day and takes on life sometimes with great vigor, other times with a bowed head down.


Take a chance every day.  Push beyond the limits of what is comfortable and familiar. 

Acts of Bravery

Perform daily acts of bravery.  What scares, infuriates or annoys you the most?  We have become a country of people afraid to speak out. Is there an injustice that you wish could be resolved?  Does the state of our environment concern you?  Create a blog and begin a letter writing campaign.  Send postcards to elected leaders voicing your thoughts and opinions.  Make that first phone call to a friend with whom you have argued.  Start that diet plan.  Turn off the TV.  Enter the world.  One act of conscious bravery a day will add up to a life well spent.

The Long Road

We all begin life as a new creation.  We are born ready to grow, learn and change.  Along the way we encounter obstacles.  Expectations limit us.  Dreams fade.  Like the characters in the Wizard of Oz, the road to self discovery is filled with all sorts of adventures, challenges to overcome, and fears to meet head on.  We may discover what we had been searching for has been with us all along or not what we wanted in the first place.  Our desires, sorrows, regrets and happinessís are own, but we are not alone.  There are friends along the way to help us learn, to guide us and to travel with us for a time.   Our coming into the world is a courageous act.  The long road of life is one filled with such acts.  Never doubt your bravery.  Travel light, but travel well.

© Copyright 2006 Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert.  All Rights Reserved. 

Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert
Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert is an interfaith minister, writer and founder of Wild Woman Ministries and Wild Woman Network a forum to explore and express creativity and spirituality. As a minister and coach, Rev. Schubert helps people discover and unlock their creative potential -- through creating art, producing classes and workshops or just pursuing a life long goal -- and is committed to assisting people in fulfilling their dreams. She also leads workshops and facilitates a popular writing program called the Wild Angels at the historic Cathedral of St. John the Divine.  Her subscription e-course - Writing for Life: Creating a Story of Your Own, is available: http://www.selfhealingexpressions.com/courses.shtml Email:  wwn@wildwomannetwork.com, or visit www.wildwomanministries.org.  212-642-5042

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