Where Angels Fear To Tread

Jan 17, 2010 by

To paraphrase a famous quote, “courage is not the absence of fear, but it is the absence of stupidity.”

I came to this rather deep thought this morning, after a night talking with the Sons of  Thunder about courage. This came about after watching yet another Star Wars, Clone Wars, Somebody Wars, show.  At one point, one of the wiser Jedi masters ran from a fight and the Sons thought he was a coward.

And I explained that in reality, the Jedi was smart – he was vastly outnumbered, his chances were slim, and he could come back to fight another day.  Courage is not standing in front of 1,000 battle droids led by Count Dooku  thinking you can take them on.

Sometimes what we perceive as courage in others is actually stupidity – acting brave in front of others to win “stud points.”

Like when our rat dog, a whopping four-pound specially bred and absurdly expensive mutt, tried to take on not one, not two, but three Rottweilers.

This was not courage, this was stupidity. 

Let us go to the stats.  In one corner, weighing in as noted, four pounds, stands Roxie Love.  A cross between a Shih Tzu and Yorkshire terrier, known as a Shorkie, AKA “A dog that begs death because it refuses to come when you call it, sleeps with cats and has no understanding of ‘do you need to go outside?'”

In the other corner stands roughly 300-plus pounds of pure Rottweiler, affectionately known as Cerberus.  More on the three-headed dog-monster guarding Hades here.

Separating them is a mere window pane.  And Roxie Love is yipping up a storm, doing back flips anticipating  … well I don’t know what she thinks is going to happen if I open that door.  The amount of drool dripping from the jaws of death outside, if collected, would weight more than Miss Roxie.

Let’s face it, Roxie would not be lunch, not even for one. She would barely make it as an appetizer.  More likely one of those mini candy bars that just leaves you wanting more.

There are times in life when someone needs to stand up and be an adult. And so I simply told Roxie that no, she was not going outside to “play” or whatever else she thought she was going to do. She thought it was courage; it was stupidity.

Roxie would do well to take the advice of writer Mary Anne Radmacher; “Courage doesn’t always roar.  Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”

Physical courage and moral courage are two very separate things. An individual can rest on their laurels for one act of physical courage a lifetime; moral courage is a daily decision.

Which is more important?

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.” Mark Twain


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