Thank You Fearless Followers!

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Warriors

After reading a post on another blogger's site, Space of Reality , I began to analyze my own definition and interpretation of the words courageous and fearless. Instead of defining the terms for you, I would rather give you specific examples that better explain what those words do and do not mean to me.

Fearless and courageous people risk their lives to save others without regard for their own safety. They save others not for the glory or the fame, for if they are "truly" fearless and brave, they do it because they believe it is what they are meant to do. Several of my students and friends fall in this category. They are policemen, firefighters and soldiers, men and women, who protect my streets, my home and my country.

Brave and valiant people do not risk their lives or their livelihood by endangering themselves or the people around them needlessly. Reckless behavior that leads to a disregard for human life by no means represents strength. Quite the contrary, I believe it shows weakness, insensitivity and lack of understanding for the needs of others. Speeding down a highway on a motorcycle going 120 miles an hour does not represent bravery. It represents a total disregard for life without an ultimate goal in mind unless suicide is your mission.

When I write about courage, bravery and fearlessness, I don't refer to people who bungee jump off of bridges, drag race on the streets for fun, or say outrageously offensive things to hurt or demean others. I refer, instead, to the people who try to live with dignity, integrity and honor everyday, to people who want to raise healthy families or struggle to succeed and triumph against the odds, for instance, someone like my friend from Vietnam who I met about 6 or 7 years ago. Perhaps we have grown close because we share similar beliefs or because we feel something and see something in each other. I know I do. From the moment I met her, I observed her eyes, her kindness and care. What impressed me most was her patience. Year after year I noticed she worked 10 hour days, everyday except Sundays and for a long time took no vacation. Although her English was not bad, it was evident that she learned the language as an adult. I don't know her entire story, nor would I ask. I do know how much she has struggled to establish her business and provide a loving home for her children, and she has done this with great integrity and love. This petite middle-aged woman exemplifies true courage. I am honored to be her friend.

Brave was a former student of mine, named Edith, a single parent, who worked full time 12-16 hours during the evening cleaning bed pans in a hospital while she went to school during the day to become a nurse and never, and I mean never, missed a class. When I asked her how did she find time to sleep and rest, she said she slept very little because she had much to accomplish. I have met countless students like Edith who have sacrificed themselves for a greater good, for a future of success and glory. Their thirst for prosperity and for independence was greater than any immediate need for gratification. They skipped the parties, the movies or the malls while they focused on creating a solid foundation for themselves and the ones they loved.

So if you are fearless does that mean you have no fear of "anything?" No...I believe everyone is afraid of something or someone. What we cannot be is afraid of too much all the time, and we have to learn to harness the fear and use it as the fuel for our lives. I refuse to allow fear to possess me. Fear does not own me or rule me. It does not dictate my actions and this I affirm. To think, otherwise, would only mean surrendering to the enemy, and that I will not do. So, yes. This blog is about courageous and inspiring people I have known or recently met. For me, they are fearless because they are warriors in the best sense of the word.

20 comments:

  1. I agree that the folks you described fall into the "fearless and courageous" category. I think that people who step out from old scripts and step into conscious spiritual living also fit the category. It takes courage to walk the "road less traveled" and, you risk losing people you've walked with for years.

    Living from your own values, beliefs, principles and insights is a courageous, fearless path.

    Thanks for your insights.

    Many blessings,
    Rhoberta
    Founder, Spiritual Living Network
    http://www.SpiritualLivingNetwork.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. TFB,I like this line, "I refer, instead, to the people who try to live with dignity, integrity and honor everyday..." Only few blogs I read so far that touched this line. I admire you for your effort to voice out the courage of those whom you met.

    To be fearless doesn't mean a stupid assault against the Iraqis for oil. To be fearless is to live with dignity in this mechanized and dehumanizing society.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have read and listened countless times to Robert Frost's poem... The Road Not Taken. It is one of those poems I truly understand and "feel." Ironically I refer to it many times in my class and in my writing. In fact my students are working on a reaction paper to that exact poem this week.

    Thank you Dr. Shaler for visiting and for your comments.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you Kebelle.

    I always enjoy reading your posts and I am very grateful for your feedback.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am most grateful for the myriad of people in my life who have lived with grace and dignity and face each day's challenges with wisdom and a sense of humor. They have taught me what courage really means.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well said. Very well said. I don't know if you saw my post on my rainbows happen blog called The Bravest person I know. It is about my sister who has been dealing with a brain tumor and its after effects for 17 years. She is a good example of what you are talking about. You are a kindred spirit and I love reading your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello,

    to be fearless in the face of an enemy is hard, but sometimes easier to learn because your enemy won't let you go without struggle.
    to face the fears within requires of you to go looking for them.
    Great post

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you Patti and Dr. Sheperd for your comments. There are so many incredibly brave and wonderful people around us. It is never too late to recognize their merits.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you Ray

    I agree that "to face the fears within requires of you to go looking for them" and brave is the soul that has the strength and wisdom to do just that.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you for such a wonderful post. There come times where you wonder if that which you do matters. there are times when your hart will fill with Sorrow and huiurt and make you want to turn from the path you walk. If, in those times, someone writes something that resonates with you, such as this post, and quickens you anew, life becomes once again, bearable and beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Very Interesting Post and your example for "the words courageous and fearless". I agree with you.
    I just watched "The Brave One" from Jodie Foster then suddenly got "An Earthquake-4.9" in my city, then saw your post! Many words to say...briefly "If the power is energy, feel it in your brain". Greetings,

    ReplyDelete
  12. Such a beautiful post. Very rich in emotion and in itself instills courage and hope in me and others. Oh, such wonderful writing. Just love it...and so glad there are people like you in this world. So glad. RainforestRobin

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you Tom... I am happy that you felt connected to my words and hope they have inspired you in some way.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Robin
    I feel very much the same about you and your writing. I am blessed to have found such great writing in blogs such as yours and so many others that have truly inspired me to write and share my thoughts. BlogCatalog has been an excellent reservoir to help quench my thirst! :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great writing. I love the part where you write I refuse to allow fear to possess me. I think we all probably have some fear as we struggle to get where we are going. The key is to not to give into the fear and remember you can achieve so much more with a positive attitude. So much more!

    ReplyDelete
  16. A very inspiring post indeed. We often confuse the idea of a courageous, brave or fearless person with someone more likened to Hollywood. The true ideals of these words though, lies as you say, in everyday people who selflessly sacrifice themselves for a greater good. Great stuff TFB

    ReplyDelete
  17. Ga.farmgirl I am with you...we cannot give in to the fear. Being positive and optimistic are much better and more fruitful choices.

    Alex
    Thanks for your words. You are right...often these Hollywood heroes you refer to are anything but heroes. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sometimes, courageous people risk their lives to save others.Reading your blog makes me think about John who says:"For God so loved the world,
    that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believe th in him should not perish,but have everlasting life.Also,God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world;but that the world through him might be saved.So,Jesus is a courageous person. Evodie

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you Wickles and Evodie for your comments.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting and commenting.