Other essays on this theme

Essay: "Courage"

by Jesse M. Govea
Courage can be defined in many ways. We are shaped and influenced by the books we read. They prepare us for more than just interesting conversations, they in fact prepare us to face real problems and encounters in daily life.

What you dislike in another person, take care to correct in yourself...someone said that...and that takes courage to do many times, but when the Europeans set sail they faced immense oceans, and that took a lot of courage to sail into the unknown. Just as the Aztecs when they too traveled south from Aztlan, it took courage to travel with the vision of setting up their capital where an eagle perched on a cactus eating a snake would be found. That would signify the spot...who could of ever imagined that sacred place they called it Tenochtitlan in 1325 on Lake Texcoo, where present day Mexico City sits...

There are many examples of courage, some are recorded some are not. One that is recorded in history and science books is the frozenland bridge, the crossing of the Bearing Sea by supposedly one of the 13th century tribes of Israel, the 13th tribe who broke off split from the 12th, made it into the North American continent and they are believed to be the descendents of American Indians , and possibly ancestors of the Aztecs, before they migrated south to present day Mexico. It took courage to make such a trip. Some people may think of courage as only an expression of bravery, to face a bear like Daniel Boone, but courage can be measured in many levels. For example, Einstein has courage in his skills as a physicist and his equations when he and Oppenhimmer built that bomb, it took a lot of courage to build it, knowing it could explode on them and in a blink if something went wrong, they and a lot of people would be destroyed. Just think about it.

The first manned flight to the moon, the first step on the moon's surface...that took courage. The Biblical David faced off the giant Goliath, a battle tested warrior and champion, David by faith gained the courage to defeat him with a sling and a rock well placed. There are great books of great events in our human history. Even if our nation at 250 years old is still a baby, in comparison to other countries that have been around for 2000 to 4000 years...if we took the time to read some of their history, no doubt they too had courage, like Saladin, the Muslim warrior. He was a courageous and valiant man in battle, yet he also had a good reasonable heart, and allowed the crusaders to go back to Europe. He could easily killed them all. Chances are history as we know it could be very different if he had done that. But he let them live and escorted them out of Mesopotamia, where the area of present day Iraq exists now. And the crusaders regrouped and came back to defeat the Muslims.

Like I said, there are many examples of courage at different levels that each can be construed to mean different things to each individual. The Israelites have had many instances where great courage has been needed to succeed. They are a small country, and face daily scrimmages with neighbors, and still have the courage to stand up to them and offer them peace. That is truly courage, amazing, but they show a lot of heart.

The old man that has done 50 years in Texas prisons...for a murder case from 1957, imagine that...has the courage to say to the reporters he is doing his time until his ailing heart gives out!...I believe the state of Texas is just going overboard with holding that 73 year old man any longer, and should be let out. 50 years for any crime is overkill! Not even communist countries hold people for that long! And doing time in Texas prison is not a cake walk either. I have done almost 29 years flat myself, but that old man encourages me to never give up hope of one day walking out of those golden gates. Sometimes it takes courage just to laugh at things...like getting set off from parole year after year for being a gangster, and for continuing to live the life you choose, where is our freedom of choice? What about our guarantees of the U.S Constitution, to live free from oppression? Where are they? It takes courage to stand up to the powers that be, and to take it on, and it takes courage to look up proudly even when the government and the parole boards have a boot on our necks, that's the plight of many prisoners around not only Texas, but all the United State's prison system.

Poor Paris, but I wish she was my cell partner...I love that girl, she reminds me of all I just wrote here above...she pushes her freedoms to the edge...walks the line and except for this time she overstepped a little bit, and the hammer of justice fell hard on her, poor girl. I only wish that spending six months in prison would be a requirement for every judge to become judge, and be qualified for a seat of justice. Maybe they wouldn't be so harsh then...besides they would not have the courage to live in a maximum security prison among prisoners for six months, and put up with the daily b.s that goes on daily, day in and day out, but it would be a real eye opener for them. (as well as for all those high falautin politicians ready to present more and more bills to create more and more criminals...they would learn something too from a six month stint). So, go hard Paris baby, you'll be alright! Keep your chin up!!

Courage to pull the trigger during a fire-fight during wars...or to do one of those bungee leaps, from the Golden Gate bridge...or to jump from the window of the burning Twin Towers...there have been people that poke a shank into others, or some that poke a finger into the eye of a shark in some instances before becoming a meal, others have jumped on alligators and done the same poked an eye, and made it out alive. Life is full of people of great courage.

It is hard to pin courage on only one thing or one person. Sure some gain distinction, like the man in the New York subway that jumped between the rail tracks to hold down an epileptic man having a seizure and that had fallen in front of the oncoming subway train...He jumped on top and held him down, saved his life, but it took a lot of courage to do that. Many have drowned crossing the Rio Grande into Texas, but others still keep making that leap into the Rio Grande, to cross over, to make a buck, most are never recognized, and none are commemorated. They either make it or just get arrested and put into prison, and then on a bus and returned to Mexico. Courage is pushed aside, goes unaccounted for, kept under wraps, in a sense these men and women's courage is goes unaccounted for even when they have had to go back to pull a drowning comrade...

There is no denying a boss's courage to stop an inmate with a shank in his hand intent on killing another inmate...of course there are those types of bosses but they come far and in-between. Still the courage of the civil rights movement on the '60's is incomparable to the new generation to the present day. We preached love and peace and rock and roll...these guys preach hate and gangsta wars, and rap and hip-hop...all about me, me, me... sucka you!

But, as Louis Nizer, an American Lawyer (1902-199)( said 'a man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist."

Wherever we fit in this life, we each have a duty to find that little niche, and be courageous in each step we take in that direction we choose to take. It takes courage for an 86 year old lady in the barrios of the west side on San Antonio to sit and wait for a son in prison, for the past 29 years, not knowing that he may not ever get home, but still waits, and who am I to discourage her? How about that courageous little Qaeda bird that shit on Dubya? Ha Ha. Can't forget that little guy, he had the courage, that's the president of the most powerful country in the world...somewhere Osama is checking out the news and laughing about that Al Qaeda bird.