We talked yesterday about belief, and how believing combats fear. We become afraid when we forget our blessings. So where does courage come from?
I do believe in evil, which isn’t to say that my belief in it actually creates it, as some new-age thinkers would have us think. To understand evil, to accept that it exists, helps us to look at it right in the eyes and stand up for what is right. We call it doing the right thing. Not when it’s convenient. Doing it when it counts. And it counts most of the time.
When my son was playing Little League baseball, I took him to a Saturday morning game with an opposing team they’d had trouble beating on several occasions. Before the game could start, I found my son and a boy from the other team rolling around in the dirt. Both coaches separated them, and benched them for several innings.
I was irritated during most of the game. When I took my son home, I let him know that we didn’t act that way towards others. I dug for the reasons he had gotten into the fight. I could tell he was hiding something he didn’t want to tell me.
And then he did. The other boy told my son, “Your mother is so fat, she needs her own zip code.” It was a funny comment, but my son felt obliged to avenge my honor. I was suddenly grateful I hadn’t gotten more heavy-handed with him, although I made it clear I disapproved. And still did.
I’d never thought about what impact my being overweight had on my family. My son demonstrated courage to stand up for what he believed in. I got to tell him how much I appreciated his act of valor, even though displaced. And I got to look at some of my habits and how they hurt more than just me.
But none of this would have happened if he hadn’t the courage to stand up to the bully from the other side. He made a stand against evil, and defended what he thought was pure and right: his mother. For that I am forever grateful.
He’s still doing that today. I’m grateful for all the heroes, little and big, who stand up and do the right thing day in and day out, who don’t capture headlines, but do it anyway.