The quiet courage that matters most: A gift of kintsugi gold

Kintsugi (kintsukuroi) brown and green striped agate stone heart pendant with gold repair on black cotton cord

This post of part of a series on the subtle gifts of kintsugi gold. In this series, I am sharing some of the gifts I have discovered in the gold of my own healing in the hopes that it will help others identify the quiet gifts available to them. All people are different, however, and all forms of brokenness and healing are likewise unique, so my experience may or may not resemble yours. I hope it can still be a starting point for searching for and discovering your own gifts hidden in your healed scars.

Courage is about having the mental and emotional strength to keep moving forward in the face of fear.

It’s easy to see the roar of courage it takes to accomplish daring feats of physical prowess, like the climbing of Mt. Everest, but that loud roar of courage is not the only kind of courage there is. In fact, I would argue it’s not even the kind of courage that matters most.

The kind of courage that matters is the courage that keeps us moving forward no matter what we face—fear, despair, grief, pain. And when is that more overwhelming a task than when we are facing the collapse of our world in broken, shattered pieces?

When we are already weighed down with the oppressive burden of our grief and anger and utter despair in the newly broken landscape of our shattered lives, the most important courage of all may just be the quiet courage to get our of bed each morning and continue putting one foot in front of the other.

It’s the courage to keep showing up again and again and again no matter how hard it is to function in the fractured reality we now face.

This takes incredible strength (which we already covered as one of gifts earlier in the series), but it also requires an inner resolve to stay committed to life and healing day by day, moment by moment, even when that healing feels like an impossible dream.

It’s this inner resolve that creates the courage that keeps us doing the things that move us in the direction of the healing we need.

What quiet courage looks like

It’s the courage to keep moving in our outer lives for those who depend on us—doing our jobs, taking care of the children, paying the bills, keeping up with chores—even when we’d rather hide from it all.

It’s the courage to keep facing and exploring our fractured inner worlds, facing our pain, anger, grief, and despair fully and allowing them to flow through us, feeling every drop of the anguish.

It’s the courage to do what is necessary to support our movement toward healing in our own way, even when our path toward healing doesn’t match what others expect from us in form or timing.

Sometimes that even even means having the courage to distance ourselves from those who would try to force us into paths that don’t work for us and developing new sources of support from those who are able to be with us where we are.

It’s the courage to let ourselves feel our anger—at ourselves, at others, at the Divine, at the unfairness of life in general—and then to choose to let it go. To forgive where forgiveness is needed in order to move on. To make changes, where needed, to prevent future damage. But always owning the anger that is there and then moving toward letting it go in healthy ways.

It’s the courage to rebuild our lives in ways that are healthier than before. Choosing new patterns, new support systems, new attitudes, new beliefs about our selves and our world that serve us better than those we held before things broke apart.

After all, if we have to rebuild anyway, why not have the courage to build things better? Even when that means having to adjust to a whole host of new things that aren’t always comfortable or easy.

It’s the courage to keep putting one foot in front of the other to move in the direction of healing no matter how might have stumbled the day (or the hour, or the minute) before.

It’s the courage to keep doing incredibly difficult inner (and outer) work day by day even though no one else may see the amount of courage and strength it is taking just to stay upright and functional.

It’s the courage to allow ourselves to continue to grow and live even when we’d rather curl into ourselves and fade away.

When we’re in the depths of brokenness in our lives, this kind of courage is not a trivial undertaking. It is likely to require everything we have in us.

And yet, for all that it requires, it is a quiet courage. It doesn’t roar. It is often overlooked and undervalued by those we are not in the valley of brokenness with us, but the courage to choose life and healing in the face of pain is a deeper, wilder courage than any other.

It’s the kind of courage that matters most in this broken world.

The gift of quiet courage

Choosing to live with this kind of quiet courage, choosing healing again and again in every moment, is harder than it sounds. It requires incredible strength in our commitment to healing and life, and it is often done without any kind of outward acknowledgement of just how much courage we are expending every moment.

It’s easy to in the midst of despair to feel like it is a waste of effort. And yet, every time we choose this quiet courage, it is like strengthening a muscle. We are slowly but surely building the inner strength to make it easier to choose courage in the next moment and next one and the one after that.

And having built up this muscle of quiet courage, it’s there to serve us for a lifetime.

For we will face broken places again—they are inevitable in this life—and every time we choose courage and strengthening of that muscle we are increasing our ability to handle future challenges, future brokenness, future heartache with greater grace and ease.

We are making ourselves warriors of the inner life with a wild, un-tameable courage that flows through our veins to make the journey toward healing easier in this broken moment and in every future broken moment that comes along.

And that quiet courage is contagious. As we put our quiet courage to work in choosing healing (again and again and again) for ourselves, our example helps others to find the courage to choose healing in their lives too.

In this way, our quiet courage changes the world around us for the better just as readily as it changes us.

What better gift is there than that?

For reflection

This kind of quiet courage is easy to overlook even in ourselves. As you look back over the broken times in your life, how have you demonstrated this kind of quiet courage?

How might you better acknowledge and appreciate yourself for the quiet courage you have shown?

How might you better acknowledge and support the quiet courage you are currently showing in your life?

How does seeing this quiet courage already in action in your life help you choose courage more often in what you are facing right now?

Where do you need to employ extra courage today to move toward healing and life in your situation? What support do you need to choose that courage?


Other posts in this series

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2 thoughts on “The quiet courage that matters most: A gift of kintsugi gold

  • July 20, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Absolutely beautiful.

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