The problem with walking down the street is there's abuse. Looks. Comments. Infrequently, worse. Not a lot. Not frequent. Just enough that when I am already feeling weak and beat-down, I avoid it when I can. And this month, at least the 3 weeks of it so far, had offered little to buoy my spirits, so as I walked I kept the barest of eyes ahead of me, and otherwise just kept my head down and hoped to slip by.
In a moment I was inside. I knew staff and they knew me; I said my greetings as I strode to the counter to order my lamb kebobs. I hadn't even finished ordering when a voice came from beside me. Aside from "older than me" I hadn't even registered who was beside me, let alone reactions.
The question wasn't one I was expecting. My sister works not 2 blocks from where I was standing. Her boss and a friend were having their lunch as I arrived, and he wondered as to how my sister was faring at the moment as she'd been off work since before the previous week. "I expected to see you Saturday at the parade and was surprised I didn't," he continued as we talked. We caught up on life, albeit briefly (and tersely). We talked about family, how things were, and other things, and at some point he said, "You have a lot of courage."
I've seen courage. I've seen people put themselves out there for things I thought were crazy. Things whose consequences scared me.
Finally, that day, I understood. Courage does not mean more than anyone else has. It does not mean more than you've heard of, or seen. It means going beyond what might reasonably be expected of a person, of doing what is right regardless of the price.
Step 45: Be courageous. Not absolutely courageous. Step up and do something you couldn't, you wouldn't, you don't.