Postaday: What is the bravest thing?

The topics are really making me think, not something I am particularly used to I might add but this is another one of those questions that has a million different connotations. Now let me think…hmmm. I can’t really answer for myself because I am the least brave person I know, unless of course you consider getting married… er three times. Having eight children, moving house seven times in less than four years. No, I wasn’t running away although I do admit that at times I felt like it. Doing a degree at fifty and conquering my self-conscious fear and going into teaching was also just part of my journey, so therefore I will not consider anything I have done as brave. Although on the second day of teaching I panicked, I had been given a class of adults to teach English to, English was good but I had never taught anything apart from Sunday school. Halfway through the class I had set some work for everyone to get on with when I excused myself and slipped into the adjoining classroom and quietly spoke to the lecturer there saying I really couldn’t do this. I was terrified. Bless her, she calmed me down and reassured me that I could and I went back. That was the hardest day I have ever had and for me the bravest. Thankfully no one realised and I got away with it. Just a little thing but a huge milestone for me to overcome.

I have second cousins who joined the army at sixteen and have seen more terrible things in their young lives than I will ever know. Now that to me is so very brave. They will tell you it is just a job and brush off any praise. I am really proud of them anyway. I spent a lot of my life living in the country and I guess leading the quiet rural life which I absolutely adored. But nothing ever happened there, apart from the odd times when the young wild herd got spooked by a thunderstorm and bolted through the village causing quite a bit of damage. It took weeks to round them all up because they had scattered to woodland and farmland beyond ours. It was a blessing that the weather had been so awful otherwise a lot more people would have been on the one road through the village. I didn’t witness anything brave though I feel sure there must have been.

I would love to quote Harry as doing something brave but, alas, it depends on what you count as being brave. As a submariner for eighteen years I consider that brave. It was before I met him though so maybe it doesn’t count. The stories, or dits as they call them, sound horrendous and sitting at the bottom of the ocean in a tin can that had water leaking into it was not something I would ever consider. So to me that consists of bravery, there again as a service man, Harry will say it was just a job…. Since I have known him he has to be the least brave man I know. I mean who lets two ladies, ie myself and my then teenage daughter, try to catch the baby mouse that the cat brought in whilst he sits on the back of the sofa? Also, who has to deal with animals of any kind from his pet hate… frogs.. to rats and birds? Right me. Not that I am brave but I am a country girl and he is so much a townie.

I make light of bravery here but every day we read of acts of such bravery in the newspapers or hear about them on the TV. The courage of sick children, of people who have dedicated their lives, or in some cases , their remaining lives if they are sick, to helping others, has to be near the top somewhere. Others who have risked their lives to save someone else or maybe a beloved pet. Relatives who become living organ donors, people who have overcome some major accident who come through then have to face world looking different. Children who have battled with Autism or cerebral palsy or many other disabilities, to gain recognition in a very difficult world. There are countless acts of bravery every day, many are unsung heroes but they are out there. For these it might be a small decision that changed their lives and others around them. For me it is these people who work, help or achieve something beyond what the majority of other folk have, that I would call brave. I may not know them but just reading of their bravery touches my heart and I do believe that it need not be something outstanding that is important. It is the stuff that moves other people’s hearts or changes a pattern of behaviour by example or a million little things that go by unnoticed but have taken a great deal of courage to do that to me are also classed as bravery.

In my sheltered life, despite not having anything newsworthy as brave, I know that every day a lot of bravery goes on in the world. It takes courage to notice it and even more courage to go to these people and acknowledge it. If we did, I feel sure there would be so much more good feeling that would become, like a ripple in the pond, and multiply until every day we could all be more understanding of the little things that truly are brave and be grateful for those moments even though they haven’t made front page news.

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