Wow! Bloganuary 2023, day 2, and we’re supposed to write about how we’re brave. Does that mean fearless? Or are we talking about how colorful we are? After all, the second definition for the term brave at Merriam-Webster.com is colorful.
Colorful is followed by terms ranging from excellent to bully, deemed archaic. I can certainly be colorful at times, and I have been accused of being a bully a few times in my life. Usually, my accuser was the real bully, and I had called the bully’s bluff.
Okay! Enough wordsmithing, grammar policing, or just doing a little trolling. How am I brave? That is a loaded question in many ways. I have been in situations that could have ended with me dying violently and messily many times.
Was I brave at those times? Sometimes I would say bravery is an acceptable description. I knew the dangers I faced and intentionally moved toward them. The threat came as a surprise in others, and there was no time to be afraid. Fear came later when I realized how close I came to being a memory.
The foregoing notwithstanding, where I have knowingly faced my fear in the past, did not involve the possibility of injury or death. Those were the times when I had to do something that I knew would hurt someone else.
The first and most painful such incident was in 1969. For reasons I won’t discuss here, I had to tell my mother that her baby boy, my little brother, had been killed in Vietnam. Normally those notifications are done by military personnel at least partially trained to deliver such news. Not in this case. The official notification team turned up later.
Later in life, I was often the guy telling a mother her child had been killed or a child her parent had died or been killed. Yet, as painful as those kinds of notifications can be and as much courage as it takes to face someone with that news, I feel I show the most bravery by facing the truth and acting accordingly.
I stood before my superiors and risked losing my rank, if not my job, by telling them I could not follow an order because it was wrong. I’ve stood before someone I’ve hurt emotionally and apologized for my actions. I faced friends who made professional mistakes serious enough to cost them their careers and told them they were done.
I suppose the way to wind this piece up is this. How am I brave? I will do the right thing regardless of the cost.
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