The Last Time I Needed Courage

BEGGAR · COLOGNE · GERMANY

I don’t often meditate on courage. For most of yesterday, my answer was, “I don’t know.”

I can tell you the last time I had a great evening spent with friends or when I truly enjoyed a fantastic meal – the big little moments. I’ve often thought I don’t remember these moments because I’m an optimist. Why remember things that were difficult when you can fill that space with more pleasant memories?

Then, I remembered the last time I needed true courage to speak – lump in throat, knot in stomach, and all. It was yesterday morning. I was walking up the steps to the Metro station, and the guy coming toward me down the steps said, “Hi, do you have two dollars?”

I said “No, sorry,” and kept walking. I did have two dollars, and I lied. The courage wasn’t in the lying, and that’s why I have trouble remembering these moments. They are moments when the courage to connect with a stranger in the smallest of ways fails me or I reject it. It doesn’t seem like courage, I understand, and maybe it’s not for others. Courage, in my daily life is in the stretching beyond the familiar, the expected, and the safe.

The right thing to do, according to my own morals and ethics, is to give what I can and care for the other. Instead, I told that guy he wasn’t worth an episode of television on iTunes or Amazon. The last time I needed true courage, I let the lump in my throat and the knot in my stomach win.


This post is part of a daily conversation between Ben Wilkoff and me. Each day Ben and I post a question to each other and then respond to one another. You can follow the questions and respond via Twitter at #LifeWideLearning16.

One thought on “The Last Time I Needed Courage

  1. I’m usually optimistic about people, but in that situation the money would most likely have been used for drugs or alcohol. Better to use the money to support charities who help those in need.

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