This comment is from John Anderson on the post “When Angry Commenters Find Common Ground” by Joanna Schroeder and David Byron
Two of the memories I had of my youth was watching a fragment of a seminar and reading an interview. One thing they had in common was that the person conducting the seminar was a woman as was the person being interviewed. The other thing they had in common was that they both brought up the concept of courage.
They didn’t preach the false courage that my friends and I practiced. We often got into fights where we were significantly numerically disadvantaged. We were kick boxing, weight lifters. We knew we would win and usually did. We never lost as a group. I lost a fight when I got jumped by eight guys. Had three on the ground, but forgot about the one behind me. I hurt for about three days, mostly day two when I barely got out of bed.
Was I scared? No, does that mean that I was courageous? No, there was an odd detached calm of recognizing that I wasn’t getting out of the situation (it was a mile away from my neighborhood and the worst thing that could happen was getting run down from behind) and the formulation of a plan to win the fight. Master Chang always said that if you stepped on the mat thinking you’ll lose, you have already lost. To this day, it irritates me to have forgotten about the guy behind me.
That wasn’t the courage they were talking about. They were talking about the courage to become vulnerable, the courage to trust and the courage to forgive. I wish I remembered who they were so I could give them the proper credit, but I think that the concept and conversation is too important to allow that to derail it. The concept was that in order to truly forgive someone, at some level we needed to trust that they weren’t making amends just to stay out of trouble and were secretly plotting their revenge.
I think that dialogue starts with trust and trust starts with courage.
photo by carbonnyc / flickr