A little extra courage
Courage sometimes comes in the form of a little lion
This is my story of courage and then the stories of others. In all these stories, the people were courageous in the face of tragedy. Still, it never hurts to have a little extra courage and sometime it comes in the form of something small and fuzzy and reminds you that you are not alone.
My story - The start of a little extra courage
We were worried. My husband had a medical problem and we were going through the testing. The choices were not good and although our friends and family kept us in their prayers, sometimes the scary was overwhelming.
A friend came to me one day and handed me a little stuffed lion. She said that the lion was known for courage and that the little lion was just a "little extra courage". She told me that every time that I held or looked at the lion, it would remind me that others were there for us. She also told me that when I didn't need the lion anymore that I was to pass it on to someone who needed it.
I can't even begin to tell you how many times I stuck my hand in my purse only to feel the lion there and was instantly reminded that there were those out there praying for us and wishing us well.
The test came back negative and the relief flooded through us. I took the lion out of my purse and set it on a shelf. We got busy with our lives and I forgot about it until a dear friend needed a little extra courage.
"Breast cancer" is the scariest thing that any doctor can say to a woman but that was what the doctor said to Debbie. We sat and we cried and then together, we went through the double mastectomy and the chemo. Just before she went to surgery, I remembered the little lion. I grabbed it and took it to her. I shared my story and gave her my lion.
The surgery went well but there were complications. The little lion was always with her and when finally, the cancer was gone, she still had the lion. I asked her why she hadn't passed it on but she said she still needed it. It reminded her of the friends and family that had helped her through the ordeal and she wasn't ready to give it up. I don't know if it was ever passed on but I do know that the little extra courage made a difference.
I can't be there everyday to let my friends and family know that I am praying for them. While a toy may be silly, the message is still that I love you and that I am there for you.
Long ago when there was nuclear testing in Nevada, the folks in Utah were not aware of the radiation that came through the canyons into their tiny town. Cathy's husband lived there. Years later, the town's people began dying of strange cancers and he did not escape the fate of the people there.
I had already given away my lion but Cathy needed a little extra courage so I found another small lion and shared it with her. As he got sicker and she learned that the treatment was not going to make a difference, she carried the lion with her. It took a long time for him to die but she kept going, always at his side and when God decided to take him home, she was there.
Several years later, another friend suffered a major setback with another illness. Cathy came to me and asked if I would go with her to pass on her lion to Karen. Cathy explained about the lion and how it had helped her remember that there were people out there thinking of her and praying for her and gave Karen the lion. I can't explain how blessed I felt that day knowing that the little lion and the little bit of courage were important enough to make a difference in one life and now was going to help another.
It is the most heartbreaking thing in the world to lose a teenage son in an auto accident. I thank God everyday that my children who are now middle aged are alive and kicking and ask that he protect my grandson. I can't imagine the horror and don't know how parents survive.
Emy's son died in an accident that was not his doing. In fact, none of the kids in the car were at fault. It was the other driver that was careless. I thought about it and then decided that maybe a small lion would remind her and her husband that at least, we were there if they needed us. So, I bought another lion and gave it to her.
I did not attend the funeral but was told later that her husband went to their son's room after the service and sat on his bed holding the little lion. I had no idea that the lion had been her son's favorite animal. No one can take away the pain but for just a minute, he found comfort with the little lion and for that I am grateful.
This is for everyone who needs a little extra courage
Pass it on
I would love to give every person who has suffered through a tragedy a little lion. When I originally wrote this, the earthquake in Japan was still nightly news. Right behind that came Christchurch, and Haiti. Through all these devastating events, we have learned again how precious life is. There have been other overwhelming events on a national scale and many events on a personal level. The people effected may be strangers but we don't have to know them to understand the despair and feel the hurt with them. I wish I could have sent a little lion to all the victims of Hurricane Katrina but that was impossible too. The recent tornadoes in the Mid-West have created new wishes to pass on a little extra courage.
How do you let these people know that they are important to you? You take better care of the people around you and hope that they will pass it on. You give a little lion to someone who needs a little extra courage, knowing that they will pass it on and in that moment, you have helped more people than you know.
This is my virtual lion for all my on-line friends, scattered throughout the world, who need a little extra courage today. This is for my family and friends. If you believe in the message, please pass it on. After all, it is just a little lion.
In July 2012, I gave someone else a lion. She has passed it on to another friend who was in need of a little extra courage. I keep one lion on hand in case I need it. Everyone needs a little help from time to time.