Sense, bright sides, and days when neither exist

The ever-so-courageous lion.Two things you may or may not know about me:

1. I like things to makes sense.

2. I like to look on the bright side.

Yesterday I struggled with news that made no sense, provided no bright side.

And I don't like that.

The past few months, my state has seen too many events that make the news, things that make no sense and have no bright side. The Waldo Canyon fire. The Aurora shootings. The heartbreaking story of Jessica Ridgeway.

We humans are born with a courageous spirit, one we're meant to put to good use throughout our lives to accomplish things great and small. I firmly believe that—despite the personally frustrating fact I lack courage far more often than not.

Those unfortunate events of late, though, had nothing to do with courage and everything to do with, well, with things happening for no good reason, making no sense.

Like most folks, I prefer stories of courage, in the news and otherwise. Retellings of how every single day millions of people beat a fatal illness, accomplish an incredible feat, overcome harrowing challenges, come to terms with odds no one ever expected to face, make a difference in personal worlds or the world at large.

The most recent example is the oh so courageous—some might even say crazy—Felix Baumgartner, who leapt from more than 24 miles high in the sky, landing safely to become the first man to reach supersonic speed without traveling in a jet or spacecraft.

What an extraordinary thing to do, and how incredible that he survived unscathed.

But then there are people who do completely average and ordinary things and don't fare so well.

Yesterday provided glaring evidence of such contrast.

Just after reading the newspaper account of Baumgartner's courage and derring do, I heard reports of an automobile accident a few miles from my home. A horrible affair in which two women—one a mother, the other a grandmother, pushing a 14-month-old in a stroller as they walked home after dropping off a total of five kids at school—were plowed down, killed by an SUV as the driver dashed to work or someplace apparently equally important to her.

It makes no sense. One man dares to perform a death-defying act and does exactly that—defies the sensible outcome, which would be death. Yet two women who likely never even considered death a possibility of their actions, that courage would be a requirement of their walking kids and grandkids to school, will never return home or to their loved ones again.

I get that bad things happen to good people all the time. That ordinary people doing ordinary things end up victims of unfortunate, unforseeable circumstances.

All the while a man jumps from far above the earth and falls into fame, good fortune, accolades and a forever place in history.

It makes no sense—the ordinary, the extraordinary, and how things turn out.

I don't begrudge Baumgartner his accomplishment of the truly awesome, incredible feat. I'm amazed he dared to jump from such heights, am inspired by him and his courage.

I just want things to make sense. More importantly, I want there to be a bright side for the families of those ordinary women who dared to cross the street yesterday morning, ending their lives and changing forever the life of the woman driver.

The baby, reportedly pulled by a witness from the mangled stroller, is in ICU but expected to survive. I suppose that could be considered the bright side.

I find it hard to wrap my head around that being a bright side, though, when that baby and a handful of other kiddos are left without a mother, a grandmother.

Perhaps it's at such times that our inherent courage is meant to kick into gear—to help us fearlessly accept that sometimes things simply make no sense, that sometimes there is no bright side.

Thing is, as I mentioned above, I unfortunately lack courage more often than I'd like. Yesterday was one of those days. At least when it came to accepting nonsense, darkness, and the unimaginable heartbreak affecting—yet again—ordinary people doing ordinary things.

photo: stock.xchng/KevinMcG

Today's question:

Where do you find courage, for things large or small?