Thursday, April 30, 2009

On courage

My nephew, Justin, has always loved to shop. A number of years ago, when Justin was about nine or ten, I was visiting my sister's family, and she needed to pick something up at the local Lowe's. Justin wanted to come along, since he knew that there was a Wal-Mart right next to Lowe's, and had some money burning a hole in his pocket.

Pam told him that this was just a quick trip--she was just going to run in, get what she needed at Lowe's, and head straight home. So, there wouldn't be time for a Wal-Mart trip. Justin thought about that for a second, then announced that he was old enough to go to the Wal-Mart by himself while Pam and I went to Lowe's.

Pam weighed the possibility. Justin is developmentally disabled, so she wasn't sure that this was such a great idea. But she was willing to try it, too.

So, we all piled into the car and drove into town. Pam pulled up to the doors at Wal-Mart to drop Justin off as he peered out the car window, looking a little anxious. "Are you sure you want to do this? How do you feel about it?" she asked.

"I'm scared, but I'm going in," he replied, then leaped out of the car.

That phrase has since become an oft-used family saying. We Hathaways are not known for our boldness. But courage--the ability to weigh desire against fear and plunge ahead--is another matter. Justin's motto summed it up perfectly for us.

I'm thinking about this saying today because my sister used it last night when I called her in advance of the breast-cancer surgery she's having this afternoon. "I'm scared, but I'm going in," she said. Courage.


yarmando said...

My thoughts and hopes are with Pam and your family.

Christy said...

What a perfect story (not to mention a handy mantra). Good thoughts will be coming toward Pam from Chicago today.

My best recollection of your collective Hathawayan spirit was in the parking garage of -- what was that place called -- the Ohio Center mall or something? You had your orange car (was it a Toyota?) with manual transmission, and we were stuck on an incline in back of several cars in line to pay. A challenge, to say the least, but you handled it with directness and aplomb. That rev of the engine to keep us from sliding back was a perfect 'I'm afraid, but I'm going in.'

historiann said...

Great story, Rose--good luck to your sister.

Jane Kokernak said...

Yes, that is courage. And I endorseness that over boldness (although, like you, I may regret what I perceive to be my own lack of sufficient boldness).

I'll be thinking of your sister.

Wonderful motto, what your nephew came up with.

Rosemary said...

Thanks, everyone, for your good wishes. I just talked to Pam who's home and doing well and laughing already--great news.

Rosemary said...

@Christy--Yes, there were many such moments in the old Buick Opel, when revving the engine too much would slam you into the bumper of the car in front of you; too little and you'd roll back into the car behind you. You're right: it's a good metaphor about the necessity of having the courage of your convictions!

I'll have to blog about that car someday...

Pam said...

Stop it you're making me cry. Yep,forgot to tell you Justin is finding new ways to handle his anxiety. I guess he called the family doctor yesterday afternoon and she was kind enough to take time out from her patients and give him some reassuance. Then I remember from my post surgery fog that he called just to check on me and was glad that I would be coming home the same day.
I used that story a lot when I was doing therapy to encourage my clients to never let fear keep them from doing something they wanted/needed to do. My mantra was if Justin can do it... I can do it.
Love you lots,