Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Defining Courage

Credit:  Lyn Fenwick, artist
As Covid-19 sweeps around the globe, ignoring national boundaries, I do my part by doing nothing but staying at home.  Weeks ago I sat at my sewing machine to make masks for my husband and  me.  It takes no courage to simply do my part in avoiding confront this stealthy killer by hiding from him in my home.  Yet, for most of us that is the simple responsibility we are asked to assume.  Stop the spread by avoiding becoming a transmitter of the virus to others.

For many others, they lack the luxury of retreat.  They are on the front lines in this war.  They are the ones whose courage deserves our eternal respect.  They are the ones who are daily reminders of what courage is.

Credit: Lyn Fenwick, artist; Larry Fenwick, photograph
Courage is:  "...the quality shown by someone who decides to do something difficult or dangerous even though they be afraid."  Collins English Dictionary  They possess the "quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain...the state or condition of being a hero."  The Free Dictionary

While most of us only need respect the importance of staying home and exercising the distancing required when we go out, the caregivers walk into the lions' dens every day across the nation.  I wanted to do something to honor them, and my private memorial is what I share in this post.  The days I spent at my drawing board were my way of thinking of them and their courage as they worked in hospitals
and other care facilities.

The fact that my portraits are only of medical personnel is not intended to ignore the many others who leave their homes to keep services available to the rest of us.  Courage is also "the ability to do something that frightens one."  Showing up to stock grocery shelves, to keep electrical power working, to deliver the mail, and to do the countless other things that keep needed services working are also heroic.

Detail. Credit:  Lyn Fenwick
But, there is something about the daily strength of medical personal to "withstand danger, fear, and difficulty" (Merriam-Webster), day after day, that seems beyond understanding for many of us.  Examples deserving of being shared involve two nurses from Olathe, KS who volunteered to leave their families and go to New York City to help. Both work in an orthopedic surgery facility, and because orthopedic surgery is elective, the clinic closed temporarily and they contracted to work in NYC.

Detail.  Credit:  Lyn Fenwick

Heather Smith says that she knew what she was going to face would be bad, but "the difference between 'knowing' and 'seeing' how bad it is are completely different things."  In an interview, she said she wants people to know "This is real.  It is not some hoax, and it can be deadly."  Paige Clinton Walters said upon her departure, "I can't wait to go help and save some lives!  But even more I can't wait to get back home safe and healthy."

This is the courage I honor in my drawing of Covid-19 Heroes.  It is a poor tribute to all the brave people risking their own health and lives for others, but it is sincerely offered.   

1 comment:

The Blog Fodder said...

Medical personnel are indeed heros. However those forced to work because of inadequate safety nets are not heroes, though they certainly ought to be treated like heroes. They are wage slaves in effect. Totally expendable at $7.50 per hour. Those that did stay home will now be forced back to work to save unemployment insurance and keep taxes low. Which is sad.