Does anyone else remember the cartoon Courage the Cowardly Dog? Well, a little while ago someone reminded me of it and while we were talking I realized how powerful it was. I personally always loved that show; I loved watching Courage stand up to some monster even as you could clearly see that he was terrified. However he would stand up to the monsters and beasts anyway because he had someone to save and because it was worth it.
In the same way I feel like we as human beings are always going to find things that scare the crap out of us whether it’s crowds, heights, or even our own dreams. There’s always going to be something that seems bigger or stronger than us, that we want to run away from and it can be so easy to allow those fears to shape our lives or for us to say that because we’re scared we can’t possibly win.
I find it so weird how we can believe this but also watch shows and movies like Courage the Cowardly Dog, Spiderman, and Lord of the Rings where the heroes are just like anyone else and they get scared. We watch these movies, so fascinated by people who overcome their fears but once they become a hero we forget all about their weak moments. To be honest, Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Mary were just little hobbits who stepped out on an adventure only to realize that they were on a scary journey, facing things much larger and stronger than themselves, and what they were doing could change the whole world. Spiderman was this kid who got cool powers and decided to use them to help people but he came close to death so many times because at the end of the day his bones could still break and he could still die or lose loved ones. Then, Courage is this little purple dog who gets scared so easily whether by his owners’ pranks or by the daily random things that happened on their farm. Like the rest of us normal human beings they all got scared. However, they became heroes while some of us are still living in our state of fear believing it’s our only option.
We may want to look at these characters and believe that there was something special about them, some extraordinary strength or ability that helped them become heroes that we don’t and can’t possess but that’s not true. Whenever those characters got scared they didn’t call on magic, they had to decide for themselves that what they were fighting for was worth more than what they were fighting against. The Hobbits decided that saving the world was more important than trying to go back to the shire. One of the Hobbits was even being led back home by a tree (one of the Twins, I don’t remember which) but he couldn’t allow himself to just go home. He knew that there were lives at stake and people who depended on him and although what he’d have to do in the future would be scary, it was worth it. Spiderman lost many people around him because of his powers and after the last movie he disappeared for a while but still he came back because although there was still the fear of losing people, saving lives was worth it. I also think about Courage, who would always say at some point during an episode “the things I do for love.” When I was a kid it seemed like such a cute thing to say but actually it was powerful because in every single episode he showed exactly what he was willing to do for love. He was willing to create ways where there were no ways and to push aside all of his many fears for love. Courage never hid his fear but at the same time he never let it stop him from saving those he loved.
Just imagine for one second that you are like Courage but instead of having to protect Miriam, you’re protecting a loved one or pursuing your dream, or leaving your mark on the world. Then something comes along and you start getting scared, fear tries to surround you and prevent you from doing what you want to do. In the face of that fear you can abandon your Miriam or you can push through your fear and say, “the things I do for love.” I guarantee you that in every episode that Courage fought to protect Miriam, he won, and it may not have been easy, it might have come with setbacks, and it might have still been scary but it was always worth it. The same applies to you.