Courage… humility… heroism

sunrise at river

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.  The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid but he who conquers that fear”  ~ Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela… I don’t think anyone can argue that he was a great leader and a true hero of our times.   As I was watching old interviews with him and heard the comments by the people who had the opportunity to meet this great man,  many words described him and the transformation that he undertook within those prison walls…  words used to describe him as a man… and as a hero… a hero not only to his own nation but to the world at large.

Nelson Mandela displayed courage as he sat in a dank cell day after day, year after year but still was in demand of his captors that both parties treat each other with respect.  How many prisoners would be courageous enough to ask to be treated with respect and be committed to treat those who try to harm them with that same respect?

Nelson Mandela also had great humility… but that came long after he was imprisoned, spending hours, days and years reflecting on his own humanness.  In Nelson Mandela’s own words, it took sitting in a prison for years to transition into the state of humility that he is so well known for…

Courage… humility… heroism

We all know who the great heroes are… Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa are household names but what about the heroes who grace us with their presence in our own little corners of the world?

What about the co-worker who just returned to work this week after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma and is in the midst of a very intense chemotherapy regimen?  The humility to walk back into the office knowing that some people may glance sideways uncomfortably as they see him for the first time after a few months,  twenty pounds lighter on an already slim frame and his head covered with only a shadow of the hair that had been there a few months before.   The courage to speak candidly of his illness and the not- so- attractive effects of the drugs that are being used to rage war against the cancer.

What about the friend who is a single mom who just shared privately with you that she was diagnosed with cancer?  Who thinks first about her son’s college finals, not wanting to burden him with the bad news so that he can focus on his exams during finals week versus focusing on her…  who’s heart is breaking because her children have endured too many losses in their young lives…  who exhibits great courage as she puts on her game-face for her kids as she is “crying inside”…


Nelson Mandela, my co-worker and my friend are all heroes in my eyes.  They all have one other thing in common… hope.  Hope to remove the chains that bind them.   Hope that tomorrow will allow them to be free.  Free of pain and suffering.  Free to love with all of their heart(s).  Free to be all that they can be…

To Mr. Mandela,  my co-worker and my dear friend… Namaste.   The spirit within me salutes the spirit within you…

Who are your everyday heroes?  Please share their story to honor them and to inspire the rest of us…

2 thoughts on “Courage… humility… heroism

  1. My hero is my dad who has fought and won the battle with cancer and is fighting that same battle again all the while being caregiver for my mom.

    1. Wow Shawn, that is a lot of a person to be dealing with. I always wonder how I would be if I was diagnosed with a life threatening disease… I hope with the grace that I have seen with others…my prayers are flowing out to your parents and that your dad’s fight continues to be on the winning side.

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