From There to Here: Be Courageous

It takes courage to go down an unfamiliar path.If you strike out on your own, if you decide to hit the trail, you’re going to be afraid at times. You know this because you know trails often are deserted and filled with things like bandits and wild animals. If you still decide to continue down that path – your first, courageous step – you’ll see belongings left along the trail and wonder what happened to the owners of said belongings. You’ll contemplate if you could be one of those owners, and you realize, yes, that could be you. You could leave everything, desert this path, and return to safety. You don’t for one reason and one reason alone:  you know what the cost of desertion would be. Your body might be safe, but your heart and mind would always wonder “what if.”

Because you know the costs – both of staying on this path and of turning back – you continue to weigh your options. Those costs and options haunt you when you make camp for the night and the only sounds that accompany you are the growling of your stomach and the growling of some thing stalking the perimeter of your campsite. You wonder if it’s a bear or a wolf or a mountain lion and pray for morning to come quickly. When it doesn’t, you tremble, then make ready for an attack. You say “This is Sparta!” and stand your ground. You have to be courageous. It’s too late for anything else.

The morning comes, and the sun falling across your face awakens you. You fell asleep during the night, but somehow you’re alive. You are grateful for that. In fact, you’re grateful for everything: the chilled air filling your lungs, the pink-edged horizon, the knife still clenched in your fist, the flowers filling their heads with dew, the lingering warmth of the dying campfire. The thing in the dark didn’t touch you, although you can see it pawed your backpack and sniffed around your campsite. You don’t look around the site too long; you have a day’s trek ahead of you. You pack your gear, and, in the all-too-brief morning light, you decide you are courageous and can face any path and any wild thing.

Image: Pritesh (CC BY NC SA 2.0)

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