Why Bother Thinking About Courage?

Why Bother Thinking About Courage?

Recently, I met a new group of women for coffee. Like me, they are all interested in hiking and taking backpacking excursions. Cass, the one woman I did know, had organized the meeting so that we could become acquainted with each other and plan some hikes.  

Something You Think Others Should Know About You

Getting our coffee and sitting down, Cass stared out, “I thought we’d all go around the table and just share with each other a little bit about our backpacking experience and something important about ourselves, something you think others should know about you.” 

It is always scary for me to be in a group of new people and I wasn’t feeling especially courageous around this group of women. I’m not at all opposed to making new friends, but I find more ease in sharing my heart when I am one-on-one with someone rather than in a group.  

I wasn’t sure how my backpacking experiences, little to none, would measure up with theirs. But, I sipped my coffee and listened as each woman shared their hiking and backpacking experiences. 

My friend Cass began by telling about the Idaho Centennial Trail she’s hiked in chunks over the last two years and how she’s learned to read topographic maps. Then Sarah from California, recounted her treks through the Sierra Nevada Range. Another woman who grew up in Peru, recalled with fondness the hikes she’d taken with her father. Jamie, a young mother, grew up experiencing the Sawtooth Mountains with her mother. Then Mona told of some of the trails she’s hiked including one named after her grandfather. Then it was my turn.

Though my experience with hiking and backpacking paled in comparison to theirs, I still envisioned walking trails, sleeping under the stars and seeing nothing but wilderness for a few days with these women. If I planned to share adventures with them, what did I think they needed to know about me?

“I’ve been married for forty years and I’m still in love. Cussing comes as natural to me as burping and I think and move in a concrete and linear fashion, from point A to B without meandering. I love hiking, but I have little to no backpacking experience.” The women nodded and smiled. I think that meant I was accepted. 

Meeting strangers takes some self-assurance, speaking one’s mind to them takes courage. Although we may relate courage to heroism, I’ve also discovered an older meaning for the word courage; to speak one’s mind while telling all one’s heart. Sharing our hearts in everyday ways is a stout hearted act of courage. 

Though I may not become a hero to any of these women while we hike, stepping between them and a bear or helping them cross rivers, I will continue to be who I am around them without fear. I will keep speaking my mind and telling of my heart. 

Why bother to think about courage? It is worth knowing the truth about yourself so you can speak your mind while telling others about your heart. The more you practice courage, the more courageous you become.