When I was in college, one of my professors told a story about a professor who decided to challenge his class on their final exam with one question, “What is bravery?” All the students had to do was write an essay to answer that one question.
The students began frantically writing when they got their test question, except for one student who sat at his desk for a few minutes staring at his paper before he got up, walked to the front and turned in his final examination. The professor looked at the him and asked, “Are you sure you want to turn this in?” He said yes and walked out.
The student’s paper was completely blank.
I think about this story often, because when I first heard it I thought what that student did really was bravery. All the other students were working their little fingers to the bone, writing about what they thought bravery was, while this guy took a chance and acted out bravery.
But, was he really brave?
Or, was he stupid?
I had breakfast with a great friend the day before I left for Chattanooga. She was asking me about my plans, and I told her that my plan was to pack everything in my car that I would need and drive to a house I had never seen to live with two girls I had never met, sometime the next day. (I know, well thought out right?)
Her response was, “Well, that is very brave of you.”
I didn’t know what to say because in that moment I didn’t feel brave at all. I felt scared and stupid.
During my entire drive to Chattanooga on Wednesday I wrestled with myself, because I wanted to feel brave, but the only thing I could think was how stupid I was being. I left my family and friends behind to go to a place where I don’t know anyone and don’t have a job.
All the questions that have been racing through my mind for the past year began beating down on me…What if I don’t find a job? What if I don’t make any friends? What if I can’t handle going back to school? What if I fail miserably at this, too?
Frankly, I am terrified of the journey I am embarking on.
Today, I have still been thinking about this question of bravery or stupidity, and the conclusion I have come to is that at any point I can choose either path. I have this amazing opportunity in front of me, and I can choose to approach it with bravery or stupidity.
Stupidity is reckless and self-centered. Stupidity is wastes our gifts and talents on things that aren’t important. Stupidity is lacks thought and intention.
Bravery moves in the face of fear. Bravery takes a chance on something better. Bravery invests in something beyond ourselves and our little world. Bravery protects and defends what is good and right.
Bravery is expectant.
I choose bravery.