Wednesday, April 27, 2005


What is this bravery that we discuss? What does it really mean? What is courage?Is bravery that which propels you onward in a fight, or is bravery that stuff of legend that admits no fear and faces every situation with grim resolve, despite an apparent outcome?

I say that bravery is that sense of self that allows an individual the opportunity to make the right choice despite the actions of others. Bravery is making a stand for ones' beliefs in the face of ridicule, in the face of consequence and in the face of failure. Dangerous situations don't necessarily require bravery. Being brave doesn't mean not being afraid. Being brave means that an individual performs his/her mission for the sake of mission accomplishment; for the better of his/her peers. Did "Chesty" Puller's accomplishments make him a brave man? Or was he just executing missions to the best of his ability? Is it valiant to kill men in combat?

The ultimate in bravery to me is having the ability to refuse to go along with the crowd, standing tall for one's personal beliefs in the face of peer pressure. That being said, I am not a brave man. I don't like social situations so I avoid them. I don't really know when this started, but I am trying to change this.

My downstairs neighbor died this past Sunday. He had been in intensive care for about 30 days. His name was Bill and he was in his mid 70's. I guess alot of people would say that he lived a full life. Every time I saw him it always appeared to me that he felt he had a lot more life to live. His daughter told me about his situation when she was over checking in on his condo and his things. I sent my regards to him while he was in the hospital. I hope that helped to boost his spirits. When it snowed I always shoveled his car out and shoveled a walkway across the parking lot. I never told him that it was me that shoveled him out. One day he came out as I was shoveling and he asked me if I had been the mysterious shoveler, of course I said yes. He thanked me and we had a nice conversation after that.

Despite the sytematic failure of his body, he still remained strong willed and fought through his pneumonia and other ailments. When his family told him that he'd not be able to go back to his condo and live alone again, he lost his will to fight this last battle, a battle for his very life. Bill bravely accepted the fact that his self-directedness and independent life was at a close, and he chose not to live like that. That is bravery.

I hope that I don't cling onto the tendrils of life hoping against hope that my independence will return. I hope that I can make the brave choice.

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