Sunday, January 19, 2014

What is Bravery?

Jeffrey was scared of a lot of things. He worried all the time about disasters, natural or man-made, and what he should do to avoid or survive them. Sometimes he would panic and we'd spend time on the phone, while I assured him that things would be okay.

That he would worry too much is unquestionable. What was significant to me, as the recipient of most of his panic calls, was that he wanted to know what to DO. He was always looking for a solution, a way to fight back against whatever it was coming. I'm not saying that all of his ideas were practical or unselfish, but they were never cowardly.

If the ship was going down, or the house was on fire, Jeffrey would be the guy pounding on doors telling everyone to get out. He wouldn't try to carry anybody down the stairs of a burning building, but he'd call the fire department. If there was a fight, he'd be terrified, but he wouldn't back away if it meant leaving someone behind.

To me, brave is a matter of degrees. As James Arness said in Gunsmoke "the man who is never afraid is surely a fool." Jeffrey was afraid a lot, but usually all he needed was someone to assure him that things would be all right. In the end, isn't that what we all need?

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