There are many courageous women in history: Amelia Earhart, Anne Frank, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Betsy Ross, Florence Nightingale, just to name a few. Certainly these women led courageous lives, but they are not the most courageous women I know.
The most courageous woman I know is the single mother.
I am not a single mother. Sometimes, I think consistency and discipline would be easier if I were. Then I realize how much harder my life would be. No one to relieve me when I just need five minutes. No one to calm me down or speak truth to me when I lose my temper. Just me, caring for two young children, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Parenting never ends. Imagine the courage it takes to face it alone.
The most courageous woman I know is the foster or adoptive parent.
Taking in strangers and choosing to love them as their own. The women I know who foster or have adopted are courageous and inspirational. They have never once treated their “stranger” children as strangers. They are always treated with unconditional love.
The most courageous woman I know is the woman facing death or chronic illness.
She is the one who looks death in the eye and says you will not overcome me. She is the woman who is smiling through the pain. She is the one who holds your hand when you need to be comforted. She looks for the shining light among the darkness. I have personally known such women. My mother-in-law died from pancreatic cancer. She was a courageous woman. She never wavered in who she was nor in how she loved.
The most courageous woman I know is the full time working mother.
She manages life and work and children, all in a balance. She does not get it perfectly all the time, but then, who does? She is the one who realizes how valuable time is and chooses not to waste one minute. Time is money, or in this case, time is loss. She is superwoman in the most extraordinary ordinary ways.
The most courageous woman I know is the one who has faced divorce and/or adultery, but has risen above it with grace and dignity.
She has shed more than a few tears, but she rises above. The most courageous woman I know is one who believes in herself and her right to be heard and valued. She may choose a harder journey, not because it is hard, but because it is the right way. She keeps taking one step at a time. If she falls down, she gets back up. If she loses her balance, she reaches out for help. She keeps her head up and keeps trudging towards new adventures. She climbs up mountains and hills and through valleys and deserts, because she knows. She knows the beauty that lies at the top.
We are all courageous. We all have our challenges and fears that take great courage to overcome. Courage is “the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”
Keep going, courageous woman. Keep running. Keep climbing. One step at a time. You are not alone.