I don’t usually pay much attention to Facebook memes, but I saw one a few years ago that really spoke to me. It was a quote from Mary Anne Radmacher that read, “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'” I think I remembered that quote because I found a lot of wisdom in her words, and some much-needed encouragement as well.
We live in a world where it is almost impossible to escape from the constant roar of angry voices around us. It comes at us from all angles: social media, the daily news, even conversations with friends and acquaintances. And of course there is much in this world to provoke our anger, and many injustices that need to be corrected and many problems that need to be solved. There never has been, or probably never will be, any shortage of things to be angry about, in either our personal lives or in the society we live in. But the problem is, simply expressing our anger isn’t actually going to fix a thing.
It’s easy to point out injustices and issues, and speak out against them, loudly and frequently. Nothing could be simpler than to point the finger of blame and to ridicule and demonize those who look at things a bit differently. And few things are more comfortable than surrounding ourselves in a cloak of self-righteous, moral superiority. Which is exactly why we all behave that way once in a while, and why some of us seem to get stuck in that mode. Sadly, venting can become a habit and anger tends to breed even more anger.
But actually correcting injustices and solving problems requires so much more than simply speaking out. It also requires a whole lot of hard work and sustained effort. It often means we have to make some personal sacrifices, and it usually means that we have to be in dialogue with, and sometimes even work with, the very people who made us angry in the first place. But mostly, fixing long-term and complex problems requires a whole lot of patience and persistence.
Like most people, I prefer quick and easy to solutions to the problems I face, both in my personal life and in the world around me. But real life rarely works that way. Which means that sometimes I’m going to feel so frustrated and discouraged that I just want to either lash out in anger or simply throw up my hands and walk away in despair. Yet that is exactly the time when I need to dig down deep in myself and find the strength to carry on, moving forward with patience, an open mind, and the quiet resolve to make things better.
In other words, I have to find the courage to “try again tomorrow.”