Sunday, December 23, 2012

Learning Courage

Twelve years ago I would hardly leave the house after a snowfall. If snow fell, even flurries, when I was out and about I would rush home. I hated to leave the house with even a small amount of ice on roads. I had Jeff drive me to work for years on snowy days. I was scared. I lost sleep on nights snow was predicted. I worried endless over forecasts. I had the Weather Channel constantly up all winter. I was truly afraid of snow.

We had a blizzard this past week with 10 inches of snow and 40 to 50 mile an hour winds. I woke up Thursday morning, the height of the storm, and cleared off my car. I let it sit and warm. Then I drove to work. Slowly, ever so slowly, but I drove. I won't tell you that it was fun. Many of the streets hadn't been plowed at all. The ones that had were skating rinks of ice. When the wind it, the car skidded to the side. It was terrible. I was one of a dozen people who made it into work. It was announced at 7:30 that the state offices would be closed until noon, an unheard of thing (in 13 years we've only closed once).

The next day I also got up and drove to work. I've ingrained in myself that not going is not an option. The commute was far better than the day before but still slick. Still slow. As I sat at my desk I listened to people come in and talk about how terrible their drive in that day was. I listened and in the back of my head I thought "yeah but yesterday was worse". And I realized that I was now one of the brave ones in the office. I was one of the people who drove in terrible weather. It wasn't that I was not afraid, far from it. But I did it. And I started to think about the definition of courage. It's not being unafraid, as I always thought. It's about being afraid but doing what you're afraid of anyway.

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