"What lies before us and what lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I had a bit of an epiphany late last night while I was visiting my old friends, Courage and Resolve. Yes, so many events in my life have required courage. All too often, I've had to call upon a deep well of strength that seems to be one of my greatest blessings and curses. (My theory: The stronger a person is, the more the person gets tested.) Is courage my creed? I don't know. As I've stated before, I've simply done what needed to be done - others see that as courage. I simply wouldn't allow myself to be cowed by what was thrown at me - others see that as resolve. Girded with love, there was no question that the warrior mentality in me would prevail - others see that as strength. Fine. Alright. I've learned to graciously accept what others see in me, since I can scarcely pretend to define it myself.
But, and, so. I looked at courage in a different light last night as I lay awake pondering my future. There's much more to it (courage and the future, both), I discovered. Courage isn't just facing what is. The greater Courage is in facing what isn't. Courage isn't walking into the Valley of the Shadow with a dearly loved one. Courage is kissing the loved one goodbye and then walking on. It's taken a great deal of resolve for me to stand again. It's taken a greater deal of courage for me to begin anew.
Courage wasn't loving John into and beyond death. Courage is allowing myself to continue to love those still in my life, and allowing for the possibility of new love. Trust me on this... it would have been so much easier to simply shut down, close doors, and disappear. I'm painfully aware, every day now, that all too soon, too unfairly, I will again have to say goodbye to someone I love. Having lost several people I've loved deeply, it seems to be my lot in life. I've come to a certain level of acceptance, much as I might "rage, rage against the dying of the light." **
Courage is being open to the certainty that I will again find love, that I will give myself over to it when it comes, without fear or trepidation. Courage comes with continuing to be wide open, knowing just how painful the ensuing wounds can, and likely will, be. This is how I choose to live my life, this is who I resolve to be. So, I continue walking this path, enjoying the journey for the journey's sake, keeping an eye on the horizon for what is to come...
Besides, after all the beauty I've been given, who am I to deny anyone a slice o' this gypsy heart?
** Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night