Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. –Ambrose Redmoon

May 4, 2009

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.  –Ambrose Redmoon

Last blog I blissfully recounted our family’s togetherness on vacation. Like any balanced yogi will tell you, it’s not all joy in Mudville. There must be sorrow to make sweet.

On vacation, snags happen. Lost baggage, terrible snowstorms, a dead car battery. While those happened, what’s worse was the annual Tye tale. That boy brings on stories you want to forget, frightening moments in time that you wish never happened. With Tye, a few paralyzing minutes take every muscle of courage I have to carry on. Believe me, fear’s always present, but like Ambrose says, courage is not the absence of such feeling. It’s the reasoning that something’s more important. Like our lives.

This year, my son and I ventured out on a small Hobie Cat. For you non-salty types, it’s a little sailboat shaped like two canoes linked together with a sail. It wasn’t a windy day, so while I made Tye wear his life jacket, I did not. I knew how to sail and swim. Wrongo.

We sailed far out in the bay, gliding along the turquoise water, when a sudden gust blew us over. Capsizing in an ocean is not an adventure one wants to have. I’ve capsized on lakes before. I’ve stood on centerboards and pushed sails up to right them. But, there are no centerboards on Hobie Cats.

After a few deep breaths I started screaming. Perfect. We were sailing in a bay near a deserted beach with no people, no boats, no nothing but the wide-open sea. Screaming helps in such situations, don’t ya think? Once I realized there was no white knight coming, I thought about the impending reefs. Sharks. The wind and the current rapidly pulling us out into the Atlantic.

Abandon ship? Almost. Except I had no life jacket. Could we swim back to shore? Instead, I swam around the boat and climbed onto one side of the boat. Using every ounce of energy that I had, I pulled. Tye pulled too. We were lucky, and it worked.

After catching our breath, and the wind in the right direction, we B-lined back to shore. By that time Dan had climbed into a real kayak and was paddling hard to save us. Mr. White Knight. We breezed right by him and waved. Relief didn’t really come until I felt the sand between my toes, but the moments had past. We had used our courage and saved ourselves. But don’t let anyone ever think otherwise. Fear is most definitely present in the face of courage.

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