“God, give me the patience to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change those things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference—AMEN.”
Having accepted what we cannot change, we have, for some, an even more difficult task—to change or impact those things we can influence. Yet for others, acceptance is more difficult than courage. True wisdom is known to the situational application of both acceptance and change, at accord with the situation’s discreet need.
The courage to change what we can is about both discernment and decisiveness; awareness and action.
Sitting Comfortably on a Knife’s Edge
The exercise of discernment is the wisdom of understanding, and, in this context, it cannot shirk the need to be prepared to act.
We can think of wisdom as sitting comfortably on a knife’s edge—to know when to accept and when to challenge. But discernment is also about such balance. There is no advantage to us, or anyone else, if we wish to promote love, when we act without discernment; when we act from an imbalanced psychological platform.
Discernment is about awareness. Awareness, likewise, relies upon discernment if it is to call us properly to act. Such discernment may actually pre-empt courage, but it takes just as much courage to not deny what becomes patently clear. For some, the mere thought of needing to act is enough to repress the awareness, for there is a lack of courage.
Action Complements Awareness
Action is where courage really finds its feet. When we resolve to act in a certain way it takes courage to implement, to follow through, to trudge on, especially when resistance mounts. And as we act in courage we can expect resistance. Not all resistance is morally motivated, however.
Awareness of the need to act without the courage to carry through just promotes anxiety. Action complements awareness. Awareness, when there is a need to act, is impotent without the resolve to act.
As a package, these two—awareness and action—remit the wisdom of effectual courage.
As a package, these two are partners in the decisive truth for change. They are brothers in arms back-to-back in wartime. They are a romantic couple huddled warmly together on a dark and stormy night.
As a package, these two present together are inseparable and perfect for effect.
Awareness and action go together, in discretion and courage, when change is required. They empower us to do what is necessary. They make us people worthy of emulation, because, of all virtues, a wise courage is generally what we lack most.
Courage is a risk, but one worthy of the truth.
Courage is a risk lessened by understanding.
Courage is a risk, all because we love.
Courage is a risk, but one altogether commanding.
There is more to courage than aggression; infinitely more. Real courage requires honesty, humility, poise.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.