If someone had told me a year ago — or even a month ago — that going to the movies would be a courageous act, I might not have believed it. I wouldn’t have been shocked since we all have had to come to terms with what is “safe” in our world today, but I would, at least, have been skeptical.
And yet, today, it doesn’t seem strange at all. Courage after all is defined as mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Last week’s attack at the movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, has left us once again questioning what is safe and what price we might be willing to pay for an afternoon’s or evening’s entertainment. Will we venture out to venues where many are gathered for enjoyment? And does that include sporting arenas, concerts, shopping malls, and restaurants? Will we send our children or our grandchildren into “danger”?
But here’s the thing — we need to have courage to live our lives fully. If we stop doing things that give us pleasure, that bring culture into our lives as well as enjoyment, that allow us to gather in community because there might be a disaster, we will have abdicated an important part of living. I don’t like to talk in terms of win/lose, but if we stop going places and doing things, the terrorists — whatever the cause involved — win.
For decades, and even centuries, people under attack have gone about their lives in spite of the increased sense of danger. They have found the courage to live anyway: witness the Londoners during World War II and those living in the Middle east today. It seems to me that real courage was exhibited last week by those in the theatre who helped others at their own peril, but another very real form of courage is available to us when we venture and persevere in living our lives in spite of danger, fear, or difficulty. There is an old saying that “the best response is living well!”