On Reflection

Courage doesn’t always roar – or walk over hot coals

Male lion

I first starting writing this post a couple of weeks ago in response to the Post-40 Bloggers writing prompt“Write about the most courageous thing you’ve done.”

At that time, I thought I was going to write about the day my twin sister and I walked over hot coals at an Anthony Robbins convention. (I only knew how brave we had been about a year later when news reports broke about a man who had done the same thing… and contracted first degree burns for his trouble.)

Although, saying ‘we’ had been brave is a reach. Usually the one to take risks, it was actually my sister on this occasion who stepped up to the plate and took the whole thing in her stride. (Being hot coals, strides were of course a good option.) Anyway, in the queue to follow her next, I suddenly had what I know now to be a very rational thought: “What if this doesn’t work and my feet are fried?”

This was not the pep talk Mr Robbins had rehearsed with us. In a trance-like state, we were supposed to chant whatever it is idiots chant who decide to spend their weekend walking over hot coals. Suffice it to say, the panicked self-talk I had now gone in for was not conducive to getting me from here to there via burning embers.

I was petrified.

My sister, now the other side of danger, was a little surprised to see me dithering in indecision (read: frozen solid in blind terror.)

Then that thing which always manages to push me onto a stage to public speak, or take on any situation where I am potentially vulnerable, suddenly manifested itself. That quiet voice of my late husband’s, Bronnie, quietly saying “You’ve got this.”

Bronnie’s belief in me was legendary.

So, off I go. I didn’t so much stride confidently as sprint at indecent haste across those taunting red embers. And I didn’t care a jot I looked like a hot mess of sweltering madness when I got to that finish line. The important thing was I got to the finish line. I did that thing I was scared to do.

This was the story I had settled down to write… until I saw this simple, but moving tweet from Jax.

I keep getting up. Every day. I go on.

And she is so right. Some days, just deciding to get up and somehow go on is one of the most courageous decisions we make some days. This is how I have managed to fashion a life as a widow. By not thinking of all those scary days ahead, but by narrowing my focus to a series of moments and going through the door each day pretending to be a whole person. Pretending I have whatever it is Bronnie saw in me to stare down each day and not be the first to blink. Jax’s simple message also reminded me of one of my favourite quotes, and on which I will end today’s muse:

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” ― Mary Anne Radmacher