It’s always so enormous a task to differentiate between bravery and sheer stupidity, and if ever it comes down to me giving an opinion, it’s always perplexing, to say the least, in pitching my tent.
Often times, I let the outcomes of various events swing the pendulum of decision to it seeming appropriate end and yet, times, most often, I remain scrupled with my stance.
I’m at seas to what we delineate as bravery and a train of questionable doubts, barge my feeble reins, to what we portray as foolishness. Perhaps, we let the result of every action influence our choice of answer. Yet, I ask why?
In this perfect world we inhabit, when a man achieve a feat in an unseemly possible mission, oh, the brown earth comes alive. Ladies, young women and children rise up to play, stamping their imprint on earth’s hardened body while the men tell the stories. Every creature lauds him with the highest honour of bravery and his songs of praises, soars to the high heavens, but let his fellow man fail in such same quest, the story is different.
The earth reeks of his naivety. Nature, herself, abhors him and no creature wants to partake in his fame of misfortunes. Not because he failed, rather because he was so stupid to have ventured against a task everyone knew was impossible. His foolishness is recited as a poem among the younger men and the children are taught his story.
This has been my bane for acquiring knowledge. To understand why the mind behave thus.
I sat at the shore of the river. The Sun danced across the sky while the clock was striking thirteen. It was there he reminded me of a golden lesson I had forgotten in the sands of activities.
Barely 10, dark in complexion and in a red short pant, he stood by the bank of the river. He gazed intently at the boisterous water and set his gaze at the shore beyond. My thoughts soon gave way as my focus was centered on him.
“Hey lad”, I called out to him, hoping to break his concentration, ‘isn’t it beautiful?”
I got no response.
And then, he turned to me and smiled.
It was the perfect smile I had seen that day and his voice afterwards was melodious.
“Life isn’t beautiful”, he said, “but the effort you put in is the difference.”
‘The effort you put in’. That was playing in my head when he said,
“See you on the other side.”
He plunged into the riding waves.
I shot to my feet like a loose cannon. If he was trying to get himself killed, well definitely not on my watch, so I ran to the bank of the river but stopped at what I saw.
He swam like a fish, for he was at the centre and I thought he was going to make it but then he began to drown.
I screamed for the lifeguards.
I couldn’t go into the water, for I couldn’t swim neither did had I a death sentence over my head.
I watched as he was carried back to the river shore and was given CPR. I began to wonder if he was so stupid to have swam against the currents.
Supposing he had died? What was he thinking? But then, supposing he had succeeded?
At this point I wondered.
Right there, like David’s sling of stone, it hit me like a series of torrid avalanche, “The effort you put in is the difference”. All you have to do in life is to try.
The young lad never knew if he was going to make it but he tried. Was it stupidity or was it bravery? Now I realized, they don’t matter anymore. What matters is the beauty of TRYING. If you fail, admit it and then try another way.
Don’t expect life with its austere pack of waves to give you a melodious and innocuous ride.
Life is not that beautiful. It always cast a shadow on every man and it takes only a try to step out of the shadow.
Yet, not everyone would make it.
Not everyone with a gory-tale background ever and will always make it to the surface of success. Many have and will still die on the way; many will give up. Many, still, will make it. The young lad never survived at the end.
You don’t know if you would make it. Be it bravery or stupidity, you just have to try.