Third Week in July
We exhibit bravery when we decide that there is more to gain by acting than there is to lose. Although the loss may never come, the fear of what we may lose is very real. Imagine the bravery Neil Armstrong mustered as he stepped from Apollo 11 onto the surface of the Moon in 1969; or the bravery of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who spoke at the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848; or that of John Scopes whose bravery endured as he sat trial, and was found guilty, for teaching evolution in a classroom; or Gregor Mendel, whose bravery was displayed by being open to the discovery of genetics and offering that discovery to the scientific community. These people, armed as they were with knowledge and conviction, still had to call on their bravery.
It is never as easy as stepping from one spot to the next. It is stepping from one known spot to a spot known only in theory. It can be scary putting ourselves into a theoretical reality. We trust that our knowledge is sound, that we are right, but what will it actually be like when we take the next step? When our histories contain the moment when we chose to act? We may lose credibility, peace of mind, innocence, jobs, an ability to trust, or relationships. We may lose a great deal. Our bravery enables us to act anyway because we have to take that next step.