Staring at the ceiling, my mind’s churning as I’m lying on the hospital bed. The ultrasound technologist is eerily silent, staring into her monitor while she moves her equipment up and down and round and round my breast.
Thousands and thousands of women face this same experience every day. It takes courage: courage to show up, courage to lie there, courage to face the possibility of a bad outcome.
Sometimes we focus so much on stories of great courage that we discount everyday courage.
Mollie Moran was raised in the Norfolk area of England and was sent to London as a scullery maid at the age of fourteen.
Her father had been gassed in the trenches of World War I and was a stranger to young Mollie when he returned from the war. She was under strict instructions not to bother him, and yet she heard muttered whispers between her mother and grandmother about her father’s condition. When Mollie was older, she read accounts of soldiers being gassed and it “turned the blood in my veins to ice,” as she wrote in her book, Minding the Manor.
Her father never recovered. He suffered coughing fits that made “my mother’s face as white as flour.” His coughing fits made his face turn purple and white rags turn red with his blood.
At Mollie’s wedding reception, she saw her father’s face become grey and knew he would soon have a coughing fit. She rushed to his side, and his mouth opened, spraying a fountain of blood over her cream wedding gown.
There she was, one of the most important events in her life, with blood all over her gown. It didn’t matter. All she could think about was her father.
It took courage for her to think only of her father. No, this isn’t the kind of momentous courage that’s written in history books. It’s everyday courage.
The kind of courage that you and I have.
Photo: DancingLedge blog by writer Jeremy Miles