Being courageous doesn’t mean you have to feel courageous. Being courageous means doing the right thing no matter how scared or worried you are. Sometimes the journey we take is paved with worry.
More than all the hobbies that I take part in, I enjoy singing the most, that is when I don’t have to do it in front of a large and strange crowd. During the summer my best friend, Shalyn, her sister Ashlyn, my sister Grace and I attended a local church camp. A play would be performed at the end of the camp session. During the week of the, the campers learned their parts and rehearse for the upcoming performance. This year, the play was called “The Star Factor.” Shalyn suggested that we should audition for solos. Shalyn could have asked us to do ballroom dancing in front of our church or make a mistake in Music and Motions and I wouldn’t have been as nervous. They say that public speaking is the biggest fear, outside of death. I was not a person who enjoys singing solos unless I am solo, but I agreed. I didn’t want to let my friend down. The auditions went quickly. Luckily I didn’t have to sing in front of too many people.
For better or worse, we made the cut and were going to be in the play. During rehearsal on the third day our camp director, Alicia, suggested that we should run through the songs in order. The first song, “Camp Heart and Soul” was sung by all the campers. The next song was “Whatever You Do.” I was slated to sing the second solo in that song. The moment of truth! Music blared through the speakers. I was so nervous that I could hear my own heart beating. Shalyn nudged me as a sign that it was my turn. I walked towards the mic. As I approached, I realized that my legs were stiff like pillars in the midst of an earthquake that was shaking beneath me.
”Anytime you’re ready sweetie”, Alicia called out.
I slowly took a deep breath in and exhaled. I assured myself it’d be all right if I just do what I love. My parents always taught me to face my fears head-on. Fear was no match for me! I began to sing.
It lasted for what seemed like an instant. As quickly as it began, it was over. What was I worried about? That was easy, but little did I know what would follow. After my solo was over all the leaders and campers cheered for me. They were on their feet, cheering me for standing up to my biggest fear, for showing determination and not allowing anything to limit my potential. Will it lead to something bigger and better? It already has. I am not scared anymore. I will not give in to fear. Ever! I have experienced the joy of friends and family being proud of me, of others learning the lesson, “if she can do it, I can do it!”
Smiling, I walked back to the risers where my group of friends stood waiting. When it was over, Shalyn told me how courageous I was to sing. She knew how I dreaded putting myself out there, being vulnerable to ridicule. I congratulated her on her speaking solo and she reminded me about how worried I was, about all of my “what ifs”. She smiled at me and replied “ It’s over now and none of that happened”. Grinning, I thought to myself. “It’s not over, it’s only the beginning!”
What is courage? Courage is the ability to do something you know is difficult no matter what you fear will happen. It is putting the what-ifs to rest and overcoming the dread you know will only make your journey more challenging. Courage is taking great risks and being rewarded with hopes and dreams. Courage is knowing that determination is a more powerful force than fear.