So, Caitlyn Jenner received an ESPY award for courage. Of course, some people are disappointed with this decision. There are memes all over the internet comparing her to war veterans, police, firefighters. They are saying that she didn’t deserve the award because she isn’t courageous. She is not a hero.
A hero is a person who exhibits qualities that we admire, qualities like courage. A hero has the courage to carry on in the face of adversity, to stand up for what is right, to overcome social or physical obstacles, to lay down their lives for others.
But not all courage is that dramatic.
I have known some heroes. My dad was my hero, for most of my life. And now that he is gone, my mom is the courageous one; coming face to face with the other side of grief, moving through the world on her own, stepping out of her comfort zone a bit more each year. Heroic.
So many single parents I know are courageous; living from check to check,
struggling to take care of their kids, not knowing if they can put food on the table or pay the rent. Heroic.
Friends I know who battle depression are courageous. For them, just getting out of bed and getting dressed are acts of bravery some days. Heroic.
All of the teachers that I know are courageous; quietly huddled in corners during lockdowns, ready to do anything they have to in order to keep our children safe. Heroic.
Recovering addicts are courageous. Going out into the real world, and coping without slipping takes great courage and determination. One day at a time. Heroic.
Every single gay kid and trans kid who comes out is courageous; living their true authentic life, regardless of what society, or their churches, or even their own families believe. Heroic.
The world has room for all sorts of courage, all sorts of heroes. And it needs more and more.
Yes, of course, people who put on uniforms and prepare themselves to serve, protect and defend others are courageous. They know that at any moment they could lose their lives in the line of duty, yet they continue to do what they do, bravely. They are truly heroic.
But sometimes it’s not about having the courage to die.
Sometimes it’s about having the courage to live.