Written for August 14. Sorry for the delay, bro.
One of my brothers celebrates his birthday today. He probably doesn't know that I think he is one of the bravest men I know.
My brother expanded my movie exposure, including the Disney film, The Princess Diaries. (seriously, don't ask) One line from the movie sums up the definition of courage. "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear." Courage is not rushing where angels fear to tread. Courage is not doing hard things. Courage is doing hard things when you fear.
Fear is not evil. We are called to fear God. Fear responds to an analysis of the situation that promises negative effects. The older we get the more we recognize the evil that assaults us. It is the uninitiated who lives without fear.
In some respects, I haven't escaped adolescence. I still think that I can do anything. I still think I'm immortal. I can do things others think arise out of bravery, but they simply arise out of hubris. Conversely, I know my limits and avoid circumstances that force me out of my comfort zone.
My brother will admit his struggles and fear. He sings, rather exuberantly, "Living on a Prayer." I think that's appropriate because at certain stages in his life, that was exactly what he did. He has worked in admissions, gone to seminary, worked in IT, and waited tables. In all these avenues, he never gave up pursuing what God called him to do.
I've faced difficult decisions in life. I've made hard decisions, but they were products of analysis. My decisions are calculations. I've never really dealt with powerful fear. My brother has. My brother has more maturity in this area than I. He knows his limitations and the possibility of failure. Nevertheless, my brother performs in spite of his fear. He understands his fear and chooses to go ahead anyway, because what he seeks to accomplish is more important than his fear. That is courage.
The youthful joie de vivre has not vanished from my brother even in the face of his struggles. I'm proud to be his brother and friend and aspire to emulate his courage.