Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.This has become one of the verses that is always ringing in my head these days, the other being: "Today is the day the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!"
-Joshua 1:9, NKJV
It's this one, though that leaves me convicted and more guilty. Most of the time, I am not strong and courageous (or of good courage). Oftentimes, when I put my opinion forward in social interaction of some kind, my heart starts pounding. I don't know why. Probably I just care too much what other people think of me.
Then, when I feel overwhelmed in school, do I tackle it head on? Sometimes, but usually I waste some time first. I can't remember which blog I mentioned this in ages ago, but I remember sarcastically saying: yeah, like that helps! I have an essay due this Sunday that I feel entirely NOT ready to write. So, last night, I spent over an hour on the computer, when all I really could justify was about 10 minutes. I avoid violin practice when I don't feel ready for a lesson, and become less ready by doing so. When I have something pressing, sometimes I just sit down with the schoolwork that least needs to be done just to get away from it. I take breaks. I hide.
This all seems so pathetic when I look at the characters I admire, and ironically the characters I create. Last night, I read a little bit of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I ran into this passage:
[Reepicheep] was a good [chess] player, and when he remembered what he was doing he usually won. But every now and then Lucy won because the Mouse did something quite ridiculous like sending a knight into the danger of a queen and castle combined. This happened because he had momentarily forgotten it was a game of chess and was thinking of a real battle and making the knight do what he would certainly have done in its place.I thought this pretty much summed up Reep. I used to love him, and then I went through a period where I really disliked him, because he displayed some of the same traits, funnily enough, as Robin Hood. Throughout Dawn Treader, he speaks of adventure, and honor, and always wants to DO something glorious. He's fearless, which in general makes him a touch arrogant too. But he's bold and courageous. In fact, the whole Dawn Treader crew is. They got out where no one has (and come back) and they investigate every island they come to. They know there's a possibility of falling off of the end of the world, and they go anyway. In the chapter I quoted above, they decide to go on instead of back, even though they're running low on stores. It's remarkable. I've always loved this book: maybe that's part of the reason why.
-The Storm and What Came of It
Then of course there's Robin Hood, who has arrogance issues too, admittedly, but often goes adventure-seeking just because he wants to, and walks right into the arms of the enemy more than once. Granted, he always has help that pulls him out. Except. He dies at the end. In helping the poor and oppressed and thwarting the people that want to stop him, he makes enemies, and he dies for it.
And it wouldn't be fair not to mention the Doctor. Granted, HE is unquestionably brilliant and has a few nifty tools now and again to help in his fight against evil. But you know what? He doesn't HAVE to do anything that he does. He has a time-travel ship, for heavens sake. Most of the time, he could just hop into it and leave. He could, but he doesn't. He always chooses to fight when most people wouldn't. It doesn't always work out like he would want, either. He loses people, and its devastating. I think Rose sums it up best:
It was a better life. And I don't mean all the traveling, seeing aliens and spaceships and things, that don't matter. The Doctor showed me a better way of living your life. You know, he showed you too. You don't just give up. You don't just let things happen. You make a stand. You say no! You have the guts to do what's right when everyone else just runs away!Even this secular, atheist show KNOWS there's something honorable in courage. This post is already lengthy, so I won't indulge in describing my own characters too long. I'll just mention the most recent one I've written about: Gervais.
-Doctor Who, "The Parting of the Ways"
In Chapter 1, he's returning from several MONTHS spent on his own, searching for information about his past (to describe it in the most dry way possible). In this chapter, he finds that the family he loves has been kicked out of their home, and he has no idea if they're dead or alive. So, he asks multiple people questions (something I'd HATE to do), evades capture, goes and asks MORE questions the next day, has plans to talk to feared and hated soldiers, goes on little food in the dead of winter--and this is only the beginning. Everything is going to get much, much harder. And mostly, Gervais is going to be able to keep going, even when he has no hope left. That's why I like him.
So, this has turned into a long post where I describe characters I admire. If only I could be like them. I'm sure many of us have that longing. I imagine that's a lot of why we read books and watch movies and TV shows. There's something we admire about the characters. I mean, if you're going to KEEP reading and KEEP watching, over and over, it's not just the plot. The plot's a one-time deal. The meaning and the characters are what keep you coming.
I am commanded to be strong and courageous. I'm folding underneath the first week back at school, and my college classes haven't started yet. Mom says the only way I'm going to be able to do this semester is if I don't ever stop. I can't get overwhelmed and freeze. If I do, I'm dead (figuratively). Lord, help me be strong and of good courage! I can't do this without you.