Grace Under Pressure = Courage?

As I sat in the Departure Lounge of our International Airport, a part of me wanted to pick up my bags and head back out to the comfort and safety of the outside.

My heart beat with a curious blend of excrement and apprehension, of dread and exhilaration.

I was  a bag of mixed emotions.

Sometime ago I had written an article on my journey through and to Bravery.

Today, it had come to me that in addition to me being brave, I also had to have been courageous.

Contrary to what is commonly thought, they are NOT the same

The dictionary defines bravery as showing no fear of difficult things.

Courage, on the other hand, is described as quality of mind that enables a person to face difficulty without fear.

So, which of these had I exhibited????

My mind spun around in circles.

Then it hit me. I had been both to some extent.

After several months of soul-searching and planning and listening to my heart, I had made the difficult decision to leave.

To leave the comfort and safety of home, of a well-established practice, of a safety net of close-knit family and friends.

Here I was, willingly, leaving all this behind, to fly off to the unknown.

To act upon what I knew, deep down, I was meant to do. There were no words to explain the deep conviction that this was indeed part of my Soul’s journey.

And then I realized, that, in fact, courage had been patterned to me all of my life.

I had come from a family of beautiful, outspoken, courageous women.

Women like my maternal grandmother who had left her small village, as a teenager, to seek a better life. She would meet and fall deeply in love with a man 10 years her senior, and together they would raise a family of 10 children, and countless grandchildren, and great-grandchildren

They had little material riches, but were blessed richly with a deep Faith in God, family love and togetherness, and the knowledge that hard work never killed anyone, and that love of your fellowman was key to a great person’s success.

Mum, as she was fondly called, was a great baker and I can still remember the smell of freshly baked bread from her ovens. Bread that was sold from that same kitchen, along with soda pop, to make ends meet.

She raised her 10 children, suffered the loss of her 11 th child as a toddler, took in grandchildren when asked to, raising them as her own.

There was wisdom imparted from her mouth, about any and everything.

She was wise, she was intuitive, and she was the essence of Love and Courage.

Three of their children would be awarded OBE’s from HRH Queen Elizabeth 11!!

My parents, too, had  patterned courage to me.

Both teachers by profession, they would make, what seemed like a bad decision by so many.

When they decided to leave the perceived comfort, safety and security of their Government teaching jobs to enter the world of Business, they had never studied business, they did not have MBA’s, but both felt that with good, old-fashioned commonsense, along with the deep desire to provide a better, more stable living for their family, they would be successful.

And so they were when they established a thriving business in fabric retail.

Several years later, they would plunge into another uncharted world, when they built what would be the first of three hotels.

They were not hoteliers, but felt that our island needed hotels providing a World class facility with a Caribbean flair, and this they did! .  (

What courage; to learn a whole new way of doing business, of being in this World.

I saw courage when my aunt had to face the sudden death of her husband of over 50 years.

Despite her heartbreak, she pulled herself together to be the pillar for her children, for her siblings, for us all.

She had to learn to be on her own, to smile despite her pain, to let the tears fall from her heart instead of her eyes.

I can only pray to have half of her courage.

Courage, shown by my dear friend who faced the diagnosis of her cancer with grace, and with faith.

Her diagnosis came in the midst of her dealing with her husband’s critical illness.

She’d had to fight with everything she had to beat this, and to come through as a stronger, wiser and even more beautiful soul.

So, in hindsight, I had always seen Courage patterned in my Life.

I knew no other way to be, to do….

And so, as my flight was called, I walked out to the tarmac, boarded my flight and breathed deeply.

It would be alright.

I was simply following in the footsteps of those wise souls who had molded me into the person seated in seat 14 A.

And as the plane ascended, I soaked in the beautiful sights of my sweet St. Lucia.  My last view was of my majestic Pitons capped by a puff of white cloud.

I smiled. It would all be okay.