A meeting about courage

We had another interesting meeting in March where the subject was COURAGE.

We heard about people who have difficult illnesses such as Ehlers-Danlos-Syndome which makes joints hyper mobile so that they have to wear bodysuits day and night just to keep them from collapsing yet who get on with life without complaining. This tied in with the courage of someone who’s fiancé had a severe stroke but who choose to marry and stay with her fiancé knowing it would be a lifelong commitment with no possibility of working, of having a family or of travel. The husband died when he was 75 so it was a courageous decision made when she was in her 20s.

The courage of Princess Katherine in announcing her cancer diagnosis to the world was also an example of courage. Another example was of an elderly lady, 86, who moved to another part of the world to support a relative. Having to settle into somewhere new and make new friends, a new way of life presents challenges even when young never mind when old.

The courage of those who fight in wars was an important topic. Rory Stewart’s father taught soldiers under his command to ‘duck and dive’ rather than  ‘march into glory’. Glory is often gory and overrated. Most soldiers who display courage often don’t talk about it.

Two books were talked about  ‘The Help by Kathryn Stockett’ which dealt with how coloured people in America dealt with racial prejudice and ‘The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom’ which dealt with how Corrie started a resistance movement in the Netherlands when 50 against the Nazis and how she hid Jewish families but was betrayed and ended up in Ravensbruck.

We thought of patients in hospital who often need courage to cope with their illness. We also looked at George Eliot who defied Victorian convention by living with a married man, rejecting religion and vehemently opposed the subjugation of married women.

Finally we looked at where the term Dutch Courage came from; in the 30 years war Dutch troops were given a tot of gin.  Also we looked briefly at the Courage Brewery started in 1787 by John Courage.