Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Strength in the face of pain or grief.
In the past few weeks, the word courage and courageous have been attached to a very well-known celebrity because of his choice to mutilate his body. He is being celebrated and being called courageous for trying to become something he was never meant to be. I am not trying to start a debate on whether or not he should or shouldn’t. Just stating that what he is doing is not my idea of courage. Let me share with you what I think courage looks like in everyday life!

A few weeks ago I was driving home when I noticed a women in a power wheel chair on the side of the road. As I drove past, I quickly scoped out the situation. She was being pushed by a teenage boy and I could see how much he was struggling to push her through the dirt and gravel. It took me all of 30 seconds to do a u-turn and head back down the road to where they were. As I got out of the van and walked toward them I immediately knew, from experience, what happened.  I asked her if her battery died on her wheelchair. The women looked up at me and in a laughing voice said YES! I told them I had a wheelchair van and asked if I could give them a ride home. (It was a rare occasion that I didn’t have Ryan with me). The teenager looked relieved and the women, who I believe had cerebral palsy, said in very strained, broken language, that it would be wonderful!

So began the fun of getting the chair up the ramp into the van. You have no idea how hard it is to push these power chairs. They are 350 +lbs. So the teenager and I struggled, pushing from too high up and about tipped her forward. We stopped and I asked her if she had her seat belt on, which she laughingly said, ALWAYS! We once again started to push, this time practically on our knees to get her up inside the van and then making sure she was securely fastened.

It was about 2 miles to their house and I asked her how she managed to run her chair out of battery. She said she worked at the mall and must have driven around a little too much!  I found out that she works at the mall, and that she drives her chair that 2 miles to catch the bus to get to work.  As we pulled up at her house I couldn’t help but notice she had a very long steep driveway, great this should be fun! As we very carefully backed her out of the van, making sure not to let her chair go to fast, another woman from inside the house came out to help. We did manage to get her up the driveway and safely into the house. She thanked me and I got into the van and drove off.

 I couldn’t help but think about her all the way home. I wanted to cry, well I did cry. I was so very thankful that I was able to help her.  I was thankful that I was driving down the road at just the right time!  I thought about her and how she never stopped smiling, it didn’t even seem to rattle her, I would have been in tears, bawling, if it was me!  I was also encouraged as she shared a glimpse of her life with me, that she had a job and was able to catch the bus to work, she found a way to have some sense of independence! Now THAT is what courage looks like!

I think of her when I hear the word courage, and many others.  I see courage every morning in my son Ryan’s face when I go into his room. He very rarely complains as I roll him from side to side, dressing him, and then lifting him into his wheelchair. He knows what his future hold, he can’t change that, yet he faces each day with courage and a peaceful spirit!
 I see courage when I see my friends teenage daughter, who was paralyzed in a gymnastic accident go back into that same gym, whenever she can, to help coach and encourage her fellow teammates.
 I see courage when I see another friend’s young daughter, fight a rare disease that affects her liver. This disease causing among other things, uncontrolled itching. I see her making jokes about her itching, happily helping her mom clean house, and even fight with her little brother!
 I see courage as I have watched my friend, who lost her 3 young daughters in an accident, fight for the strength and courage to get out of bed every morning and face each difficult day.
 I see courage in my friend as she is losing her mom to Alzheimer’s. Each time she sees her, she is losing more and more of the mom she once knew, yet she courageously never gives up seeking to find new ways to connect with her mom.
 I see courage in many parents as they are dealing with children with some very hard circumstance. They hug and wipe away tears from their children’s face, answering hard questions, comforting, encouraging, reassuring. They courageously manage to hold it together only long enough to be able to lock themselves in their room and let the tears flow!

 These people cannot change their circumstances but each one, in their own unique way, are finding ways to face some very difficult circumstances with courage! I am not saying these battles are easy or that they don’t get discouraged yet they have found a way, in spite of the difficulties, to courageous live each day to the fullest!

We all know people who have and continue to face challenges. I have only mentioned a few yet I know many more. Who in your life would you say is living life courageously? Please tell me, who do you think of when you hear the word courage? Please share their story and even a picture! Let’s be reminded what courage really is and what it looks like in real life!