Wednesday, 16 December 2015 14:32

Courage is something you can’t be afraid to have

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Courage is a word that brings to mind heroes such as Terry Fox or Joannie Rochette, the figure skater who won bronze at the 2010 Olympics only days after the death of her mother.


That being said, we all know ordinary people who live their life with simple yet profound courage.
Some display a courage I can’t fathom, a courage I don’t have, while others make me wonder from where they draw their strength. This article is about them.
A few years ago, I was getting my hair cut when a frail old man entered the barber shop with the help of his wife. It took me a few moments, but I recognized him from an interview during my early days as a reporter.
The old man had visibly changed since our last meeting. Apart from needing help to walk, his speech was slower and a bit garbled. At the time of our interview, he spoke with conviction, even force, and the word to best describe him would have been feisty. Now, he seemed calm, perhaps even serene. I struggled to understand what could have brought about this confusing transition.
When I asked if he remembered me, the old man said he did and eventually told me about his stroke.
“I’m sure it’s not easy,” I said when he was finished.
To my astonishment, he answered, “I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”
The old man must have seen the total incomprehension on my face because he proceeded to explain what he meant. His life wasn’t perfect, but that wasn’t what he focused on. Instead, he appreciated what he still had.
He was alive and he was thankful for it — a brave perspective considering how easily he could’ve griped.
Someone else with courage I admire is a writer named Janine. Her and I used to write for the same newspaper. When the paper came out every two weeks, her column was always the first I read. Janine chronicled her fight and eventual triumph over depression. She lived in a small town where everyone knew her and still Janine shared some of her most private thoughts. Our demons are something we usually invest a lot of energy into hiding from others. Not Janine. Even though the subject of mental illness is taboo, Janine’s columns chipped away at the stigma with honesty and courage. She brought light to a dark subject.
Some of you may have heard of Ben Bertiaume, his wife Magali and their five-year-old son Mali. Ben and Magali are from Montreal, but up until this spring they had been working in Edmonton. After four years away from home, they decided to return to Quebec, but wanted to have an adventure along the way so they hopped into their canoe and paddled across most of Canada. They had a great experience, but Mali said it was boring at times because there wasn’t enough room in the canoe to play.
The Bertiaume family left Edmonton in May and the trio of modern-day voyageurs paddled into Montreal Sept. 26. Many parents would think twice about crossing Canada by canoe with a young child, but the Bertiaumes had the courage to believe in their dream.
I invite you to look closer at the people in your life who have the courage to do what you normally wouldn’t. Applaud them. Learn from them. What do they teach you about yourself?
(Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing. For more information, phone 306-661-8975 or visit www.canoetoneworleans.com.)

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Dominique Liboiron

Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing.