Volume 14, Number 2, November-December 2010
What I Know About Courage...
I Learned From My Mother
by Connie L. Hawkins
I know that my mother was a woman of courage. I was born in the forty’s, a post-war, out of wedlock baby. I was told my mother struggled with the decision to keep me or give me up for adoption. She chose to keep me and that took courage, especially since I was born with cerebral palsy. She had to know it would not be an easy life raising a handicapped child alone.
Even though she may not have said it enough, I know that my mother loved me because she told me so and I believed her.
Growing up in the 40s and 50s was not easy. There was no such thing as “physically challenged.” I was the crippled kid and it took courage just to survive that. I know that I got that courage from my mother. She always told me, “There is nothing you can’t do if you put your mind to it.”
My mother married my father
when I was three years old. I grew up on a farm six and a half miles north of
In spite of the fact that
my 10th grade English teacher told me I’d never
amount to much and that I would never be a writer because I couldn’t spell, I
always knew that I would grow up and be a writer, if for no reason than to
spite Mrs. Baker. I knew this because in my heart I was already a writer. I
I tried milking a cow, riding a horse, and going to beauty school – none of which worked for me. The cow knocked me off the milking stool. I fell off the horse twice. And, I was a beauty school dropout. I didn’t like putting my hands in gobs of hair gel. And besides, to be a beautician means standing on your feet all day. There were days I could hardly walk. What was I thinking?
I wanted to be the next great American novelist, but I settled for a career as a billing clerk in a medical office. Until one day it dawned on me that I was off that God path again, out of the rowboat, so-to-speak. With all the courage I could muster, I resigned my job in the medical field (after nearly 19 years) and went back to college to be a writer. I was 38 years old standing in line to register for college with 18-year-old, know-it-all high school seniors. I almost tripped over their book bags trying to get out of line, but courage wouldn’t let me fail. “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you” (Phil ).
Health problems overtook me and I never got the four-year degree in journalism that I thought I needed in order to write a good book. I discovered that I didn’t need a degree to write—what I needed was guts, determination—and courage. And, I had that! I did eventually become a writer. God saw to that. I worked as a freelance reporter for our local newspaper for over a decade before I started my own Christian newspaper and eventually I ended up helping 27 other “wanna-be authors” publish their books. It’s amazing what a little courage can do.
Some people see me as a pessimist walking around with a glass half empty; (I admit to being a whiner and complainer on occasion—often mistaken for pessimism) others think of me as more of an optimist with a half full glass. But the truth of the matter is the glass is neither half empty nor half full. I entertain and make people laugh. I make them feel good—happy even; there’s nothing pessimistic about that. I became a success because I simply thought of myself as courageous—thank you, Mother. By the way, in my book, it doesn’t matter if the glass is half empty or half full—it’s what’s inside that counts and my cup runneth over with blessings.
“Nothing but courage can guide life” —Vauvenargus
A great part of courage is doing what is necessary for you to do and, while you are doing it, remember that with Christ anything’s possible! &
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