It is easy to have courage, to be brave, when things are going relatively well. From time-to-time, we all suffer small setbacks in life, and it's usually pretty easy to muddle through them and still retain some sense of humor and dignity. What happens, though, when those diversities become life-altering? Can we still maintain our grace; that feeling of not being helpless, of being able to face our burdens with honor, elegance, and refinement? That's not always so easy to do. Like Santiago in Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea, we must be able to maintain our inner and unstoppable spirit...that instictual drive to push onward even when it seems that everything is going against us...even when life is at its absolute worst. Having honor, courage, endurance, and faith always, especially in times of distress...this is, to me, what grace under fire means.
It can be a hard concept to grasp for many of us; we whine, and cry, and carry on when things go badly. But for some, those life-changing events that drive loads of us nearly to the brink of insanity, just seem to pass without much notice. They hold their heads up high and move on. Why is that and how can they remain so calm? I think it goes back to their belief in themselves, and their ability to get through anything. I think they have courage to face the future, no matter what it holds. They have honor. They seem to know what the right thing to do is in every situation. And they have faith, be it spiritual or faith in themselves. They have the endurance to "tough it out."
Being inseperable from our beliefs is key. In times of trial and trouble, we can clearly see what we're made of. Do we choose to stand tall, or will we crumble under the weight of adversity? We've all found ourselves in the position of barely hanging on. It's a scary feeling, for sure, but it's how we behave that determines our mettle. Not only is it the "brave face" we show the world, but it's our inner strength, as well, that makes us courageous and gives us the strength to get through anything.
I know I'm not always "grace under fire." I've been known to throw a few hissy fits when things don't go my way (just ask my mother) and to become depressed over seemingly hopeless situations. But, somehow, I manage to get through them...and I'm always a little bit stronger for having done so. Courage isn't something we're necessarily born with, but the will and strength to survive certainly are. When we learn to harness our courage (real or faked) and we have real unshakable faith in something...even ourselves, everyone can overcome adversity. It's called adaptablilty. And that isn't something you'll learn from a TV show. It comes from living life and overcoming our challenges, one at a time.