My youngest son and I enjoyed a date to the movies last night. We chose the new Matt Damon flick, “We Bought a Zoo”, inspired by the true story of Benjamin Mee. In case you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t give everything away but suffice it to say it is an emotional story with a healthy dose of drama, humor, and the reality of family. Matt Damon’s character as the widowed father of 7-year Rosie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones – TOO cute!) and 14-year-old Dylan (Collin Ford) explores the complex and often unpredictable roller coaster of grief, along with the accompanying and unwelcome life changes. The morning after a particularly heated argument between father and son, the two are sitting on the floor of a shelter with a dying tiger, trying to find a way to connect with each other. They agree to speak what they wish the other would say and so begins a real heart-to-heart.
And then it happens. The statement. Those few words on which the entire story rests. There, sitting on the floor of a beat-up, old, big cat shelter, father looks at son and says, “You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage – just, literally, 20 seconds of, just, embarrassing bravery – and I promise something great will come of it.”
Insane courage. Embarrassing bravery. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since the movie ended.
I laid in bed last night asking myself if I know anyone who exhibits insane courage. Nope.
Embarrassing bravery? Not recently. History, however, provides us with many who would fit such a category:
David – can you imagine facing Goliath? Sure, it was easy to go before the king and ask permission to fight. You know, male bravado and all that. It was probably even easy to gather those small stones out of the river. After all, David had used stones before to defeat his enemies and those of his flock. But the moment he looked up, rolled those stones in his hand, and saw Goliath standing there? Goliath was enormous; mocking; ready and waiting to hand down some serious humiliation Philistine-style. It was insane courage that caused David to pull back his arm and throw the stone. His source of insane courage was his God – but it was still, by all accounts, insane.
Mary – on the heels of Christmas, she is still fresh on my mind and heart. I don’t know how common it was for someone to be visited by an angel in those days, but the message from the angel was far from normal, even if his visit wasn’t. We assume from the very brief recorded account of Mary’s interaction with the angel that she was a quiet, soft-spoken, submissive young woman. What we dare not assume is the reaction of her family, her friends, her neighbors, her church. We know Joseph’s reaction: keep the disgrace to a minimum; damage control and all that. Mary chose to go forward with God – with or without a husband by her side to brave the storm. Embarrassing bravery.
The unknown rebel of Tiananmen Square – June 5, 1989. One solitary unidentified man stood brave and courageous in front of a long line of Chinese military tanks the day after protesters stormed Beijing’s famed cultural and political center in protest of China’s government. Rumors swelled about the identity of this young man, and whether or not he was executed as a result of his quiet protest. While his actions were the source of international acclaim and inspiration, within China itself his story is virtually unknown.
No doubt, I could fill this blog for months with widely known and little known stories of courage and bravery replete throughout history.
And now we turn the page to 2012. Here we are five days into a new year. 360 days before we count it all down again. Resolutions? I rarely make them. But this idea of insane courage, this concept of embracing 20 seconds – just 20 seconds – of embarrassing bravery has me hooked. I don’t know if I have it in me. I don’t know that I will even have the opportunity. I hope I do – I think. And I hope at the end of this year I can say that I inspired my husband, my children, and those around me to embrace courage and bravery.
I feel confident something great will come of it.
And before I forget, thanks for visiting my new blog site! It’s definitely a work in progress. It’s also a big, brave, courageous step for me.