Saturday, August 6, 2011

on courage...

One of the best books I ever read was "Another Roadside Attraction" by Tom Robbins (not to be confused with Harold, who wrote in an entirely different genre). Short of writing a book review here, I'll just give you the short'n'sweet: cool characters, great underlying messages, and perhaps the best quote I've ever copied. Kind of a mantra of mine. I actually wrote it out on parchment (in calligraphy!) and keep it tacked up on my wall so I can read it every day. For more than 25 years. Yep. I like it...a LOT.

So today I got to thinking about that quote (for the umpteen millionth time) and how it has affected me over the years. How it has been a light when there seemed to be only darkness. How it made me giggle at myself when I was being overly dramatic (oh yea. I can go there sometimes). How, in the face of adversity, that quote comes flyin' into my brain lickety split...and keeps me from straying too far from my balance. And I thought it might be fun to share it with you. (It seems like I have before but I can't seem to find it. So, if this is a "repeat" for you...oh well.)

...the character's name is Amanda. She is being held 'hostage' in her home by FBI agents who are looking for her husband. Her husband and his best friend have stolen the corpse of Jesus Christ from the catacombs of the Vatican. NOT something the government wants publicized. Like I said, cool characters. One of the agents has accused her husband of being a coward. He then proceeds to lecture her on the virtues of courage. Here is her response:

You risked your life, but what else have you ever risked? 
Have you ever risked disapproval? 
Have you ever risked a belief? 
There is nothing particularly courageous in risking one's life. 
So you lose it, you go to your hero's heaven and everything is milk and honey til the end of time, right? 
You get your reward and you suffer no earthly consequences. 
That's not courage. 
Real courage is risking something you have to keep on living with.
Real courage is risking something that might force you to rethink your thoughts
and suffer change
and stretch consciousness.
Real courage is risking one's cliches.

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