Fear is a dragon.
For many it takes shape as public speaking, snakes, spiders and mysterious sounds, and for others the imagined actions of gargoyles and dragons.
Confronting that dragon takes courage.
Dr. Calvin Rooney knew something about this.
A fictional character in Clive Cussler’s 1986 best-selling novel, “Cyclops,” the good doctor is on a 35-foot boat named Southern Comfort where he is headed out to sea.
“I hate boats,” Rooney gripes to the pilot, Sheriff Tyler Sweat. “I can’t swim, can’t float, and get seasick looking through the window of a washing machine.
His fear mounting, Rooney then asks Sweat, “Where do you keep the courage?”
“Down in the forward cabin,” Sweat replied. “Help yourself. There’s ice in the brass diver’s helmet.”
A few drinks later, Rooney feels better.
But his fear of the sea – his dragon – quietly remains.
Bottled courage can certainly but temporarily bolster the confidence of a timid soul, but it usually leads to one’s swaggering and stumbling forth to confront one’s dragons.
Courage is not a heroic deed or saga comprised of tales – or Disney movies – of knights and damsels fighting off winged, fire-breathing dragons.
No, courage comes from the heart; it is the confronting of the dragons of doubt and despair; it is the revealing of itself in the open light of day; it is the articulating of the truth; it is the facing of one’s friends and speaking truth to them.
As President Harry S. Truman once observed, “It takes courage to face a duelist with a pistol and it takes courage to face a British general with an army. But it takes still greater and far higher courage to face friends with a grievance.”
Courage defeats dragons.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.