Sunday, March 18, 2012

living and courage

In my small life, where courage has to do with smaller things, I wonder what the world would look like if folks like Martin Luther King jr had, when they were beginning, been diverted by practical concerns.

We all hope for the good, for a place and a community that values us and the things we love. For all of us … we long for fairness and consideration. We hope for conditions that will move us to “a better place.” My better place, my ideal, is one that privileges creative excellence, the exchange of ideas, mutual trust and respect.

As one of my most esteemed colleagues has said, hope is passive. These things require actions to be made real. It is a failure of imagination and courage which keeps us from achieving our ends.

Daily, in incidental places and ways, we are challenged to perform our ethical position - to make words and deeds match. In the face of these challenges there is always a temptation to give into what would seem “practical.” It seems futile, foolish, to pursue the ideal. The path toward the ideal is easily abandoned. The constant voice of “they” admonishes us to be “reasonable.”

To walk away from our ethical imperative harms us – diminishes what we would call our soul. It makes us less than we could be. It takes a knife to our ambitions. It assures our bitterness.

In the large and the small, we must build the world we want to live in. We must adhere to, and not defer, our ethical position. We must match words to deeds.

We must demand of our leadership that, rather then divining the path, that they envision it. We must demand that they persuade us, and others, to the value of their course. We must demand that they lead us through the courage of their convictions, that they must risk failure in order to achieve real success. We must demand that they make war on mediocrity and complacency. We must demand that they inspire us through their example.

I believe that the place and the time I live in can come to fruition. I believe that we sit at the brink of a remarkable moment. I believe that the challenges that we face are merely opportunities. I believe that what is required of us … what will achieve our goals, is the courage to pursue the course of our ideals … and leadership, real leadership.