The Second Knightly Virtue
This one was really hard for me, and I’m not sure why. I could have started off talking about standing on the edge of a cliff, looking down, terrified. That happened to me – quite often in fact – growing up. Not literally, as with James Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Vertigo… But I’d have to say I was about like him. I hated heights, snakes, meeting new people, and pretty much everything that pulled me out of my comfort zone. When we’re confronted with our fears, we either cower in the corner, or we stand up and walk into them. And that, remarkably, determines who we are. Which is why courage is perhaps the most important, and most difficult, of all virtues.
We equate it with manhood itself. Before going onto the playground, boys wonder, “Do I have what it takes?” meaning, “Will I stand up to the bully, or will I turn tail and run?” Soldiers wonder the same thing about the enemy before going into battle. Everything depends on their quitting themselves like men; and if they don’t, it can be disastrous for the other men. All men wonder about themselves: which is why, when you know the answer, and the answer is that you’re a coward, you have nowhere else to turn but God.
People used to think that women were the weaker sex. Of course, that’s not true except physically. Psychologically, they are actually the stronger of the two. We men are far more fragile in our psyches, which is why we’re more prone to nervous breakdowns and suicide. We can’t stand thinking of ourselves as less than the Rock of Gibraltar, but we are. We’re weak, comparatively speaking, and God meant for us to be that way so we would depend on Him. He’s the Rock on which we need to stand, our Rock of Ages.
So, back to James Stewart in Vertigo. Read more…