Fear and Courage

As I am prone to do now and again, I’m going to break character here and post something serious.

I’m going to tell you something incredibly embarrassing in order to make a point.  And I hope the point leaves you so affected, you’ll forget all about the incident that prompted this little lesson.

We have a rat. I don’t mean a tattletale, a scoundrel, or anything other than Rattus norvegicus. He came into our home via one of the myriad holes or wide open spaces, likely to get at the birdseed in the basement. Then he began exploring.

He was caught and disposed of brought to a beautiful farmhouse where he will live happily ever after, but ever since I have been what you might call skittish.

The other night I was downstairs watching the idiot box when I heard a noise. Everyone else was gone, and I was just sure it was another little beastie. I wanted desperately to get upstairs and close the door to the stairs so I could feel “safe.”

It took every last bit of my courage to force myself to get down from my position standing on the sofa and make the run for the upstairs.

I know you’re all laughing. I would be too if I wasn’t too busy being embarrassed, both about the fact that I have a rat in my house (!) and that I’m such a sissy about it.

When I finally made it past the place where the noise appeared to be located, I started thinking about how dumb I felt and why in the world was I scared of a little f@#$ing rat anyway? And what would I do if I had to muster the will to walk past real danger?

My husband knows what he would do.

My little freak out session made me imagine how I might feel if I was facing the possiblility of sniper fire or RPGs.  And I imagined what my husband must have felt when he accompanied convoys in Iraq, not that I can even begin to know how that feels.

I understand all the arguments for and against this war, or wars in general. I can sympathize with both sides, really. And my husband does what he does because he believes our country and its ideals deserve protecting, not just becuase he didn’t have options after high school, or because he likes playing with guns.

He trained coalition forces over there. He made friends with Turks and Russians and Iraqis. He lost friends, too.

So let’s suspend what you may believe about dealing with other nations and diplomacy and how wrong you think this war is. There are arguments to be made on both sides.  Let’s think instead about what it takes to stand up for what you believe in and put yourself in harm’s way to do it.

Would I be able to face that kind of fear for what I truly believe is the greater good?

Would you?


19 Responses to “Fear and Courage”

  1. Well, first off, you and I have a long way to go to reach the level of bravery that it takes to face a real enemy (at least voluntarily). I totally admire your husband and anyone who makes that choice for everyone else’s good. Just the act of making the choice, is considered true bravery, IMO. Great post!

  2. U-rah, baby! I knew I loved you. But now I get you. My DH was a Marine, and the first gulf war ended 18 hours prior to his deployment from Pendleton.

    There is no one who understands all that courage more than a woman sitting at home watching a war on TV and holding her breath when someone’s son or husband or brother or friend is reported killed.

    Yes, put it aside. Try to understand that are many people who love the people who are born with that very special, very rare self-sacrificing understanding of the things in life that are worth facing terror for.

    Respect both.

    And also try to understand that Norwegian Roof rats assault even the finest human beings. Someday I’ll tell you the story of one of those little bastards holding us hostage.

    Until then,

    XO and God bless your hubby. Tell him thanks from a girl who treasures her freedom and the boyz who protect it.

  3. When re-reading my comment, I think that first sentence needs a bit more clarification…it was totally based on your rat situation!! I would react the exact same way. 😉

  4. Bunny Says:

    When I was young, I thought that if I joined the military, I would be a brave soldier. (I did not join but my sister did). Then one day I played paint ball with some co-workers & discovered that, even though it was just a harmless game, I was shaking like a leaf and scared to emerge from my hiding places to participate. I was shocked by my fear. I admire anyone who can face true danger & still have the ability to carry on his or her job.

    As far as rats are concerned – get a dog or cat & they’ll take care of the problem.

    • I just reread your comment and wanted to say I understand. I just don’t think I have it in me to intentionally put myself in a fearful situation, even if it is “play.”

      Except I do love white water rafting. 😉

  5. Jamie Says:

    I love I live in a country that I am free and I so appreciate the men and women that sacrifice so that I can be safe in my home and only be afraid of “rats” and not gunfire! I am so thankful to men like your husband and to your family for the sacrifices you made and make so he can help defend our country and our freedom! You guys are awesome- I need to get together with you sometime soon- we miss you!

  6. It’s only the truly ignorant or completely brainwashed that can’t see and have empathy for both points of view. Its way too convoluted of an argument to have a concise right answer, but there is no argument that the brave men and women who fight for our country deserve so much more than we could ever hope to give! God bless your husband and his incredible courage!
    In answer to your question, I do believe that most if not all of us, are capable of courage; it is real character and honor that allows it to be shown! Great post!

  7. Thanks to you and your husband for your sacrifices! Rats! I have dealt with them… WAY easier to deal with than al-Qaida.

  8. Thank you everyone for your comments. We have seen a lot of appreciation for what Mr. Barely Knit Together has done and continues to do.

    YNB – I understood what you were saying; no worries 😉

    Lydia – I just like you more and more!

    Bunny – I used to not like cats much, but I’m seriously tempted to pose the idea to the huz.

    Jamie – Thank you for your kind words. Yes, let’s go to the pool soon it’s too stinkin’ hot in here!

    Scott – It’s so nice to hear someone say that they understand how complex this topic is. Too many times people throw out meaningless catch phrases without really grasping the issues involved. Unless you are an expert in the cultures involved and strategy and diplomacy and negotiation and human relations and psychology and religion, I don’t think it’s appropriate to be a blind adherent to ANY ideology.

    Timm – Yes! Far better than to find al-Qaida breeding in my walls.

  9. I know you’re not looking for compliments, but as an Army vet myself I know a little bit about the sacrifices of both those who serve and those who wait at home…both are courageous. Really, thanks for what you guys do.

    In regards to your rat thing, pick up a copy of ‘Willard’ on Netflix, I think that will help.

    • Thank you, friend. Yeah, it pretty much sucks tending the home fires by yourself. I just hope we don’t do another deployment before the children are totally grown up and gone.

  10. fear

    […] This entry was posted on June 9, 2009 at 09:38 and is filed under The Soap Box with tags courage, fear, freedom, iraq, soldiers, war. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed You can leave a response, … […]…

  11. I have the utmost respect for the brave men and women (and their families) who make this tremendous sacrifice.

    To answer your question. I think Scott said it very well. (including the line about “great post.”)

  12. Everytime I think about my options coming out of hs, never was military service an option. I don’t have half the balls that these brave men and women do.

    Thanks to your huz, Robert J, and all that support them

  13. I think that greatness isn’t a birth right, it isn’t bestowed on someone from birth. Greatness is like an elusive thing fluttering around waiting for someone to capture it.

    Your husband in a great man, a great hero, someone who grabbed greatness as it fluttered by and held on tight. I think most of us are fearful of reaching out a grabbing it. It is the special few, like your husband who faced his fears and as a result is truly great.

    I, personally, don’t know if I could grab it as it went by. Thank you for all that your husband does and also thank you for your sacrifice. We forget just how much the love ones of our soldiers sacrifice.

  14. Wow – I feel like hugging and kissing Eric now.

    Also, Bunny is really making me want to tell my rat story, but I want you to get a kitty first, my dear.



  15. Wonderful post, BKT. It’s true, we take our freedoms and soldiers for granted. My father was a career Army soldier who volunteered for Korea once and Viet Nam twice, and I don’t think I really understood why he would *ask* to leave us for some god-forsaken country for a year or more at a time, until many years later. It wasn’t because he didn’t love us. It was *because* he loved us, and he was a patriot.

    And so are you.

    Heaps of gratitude to your husband and to all of our soldiers and their families, for all they do for us.

  16. Not enough can ever be said about the courage of our troops, past and present.

    As for the rat, it’s a good metaphor for a terrorist. I say get yourself an air rifle and fire away at that son-of-a-bitch.

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