Ordinary Acts of Bravery

I have a planner now.  Well, I always had a planner, what I have now is an agenda.  I’m supposed to be planning these blog posts in advance so that, come Tuesday, I’m not struggling to decide on a topic.

But you know what?  I didn’t.  Still, my only accomplishment thus far today is that I finally watched Divergent (which has to be back at the library tomorrow), so let’s talk about that.  As usual, spoilers ahead.

Here’s a question: 

It’s like the Harry Potter houses.  Everybody wonders where they would belong.  There’s a difference though.  At Hogwarts, the house is chosen based on what you value.  It’s why the sorting hat gave Harry a choice.  Obviously there’s also an aspect of what you embody, but the definitions are different in the Hogwarts houses.  Neville is shown to be a Gryffindor, while he would never be Dauntless, even though both are said to value bravery.

The movie mentions that there are “new rules” and “old rules,” and from the story, you can tell some of the ways they’ve changed.  However, the book does a better job (because it’s a better medium for it) of showing the true differences.  the faction manifestos are printed in the back of the copy of Divergent that I have.  The most important line of it is mentioned in the movie.

“We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”

They say it in the movie, but the leaders’ actions completely refute it.  Whenever one of the initiates try to stand up for another, they are glared at, silenced, threatened.  The things the Dauntless do are not “ordinary acts of bravery.”  They are acts of recklessness: jumping onto trains and off of buildings, fighting, learning to shoot a gun.

The book makes a big deal about the similarities between Abnegation (selflessness) and Dauntless.  It is done through the characters of Tris and her mother.  At one point in their lives, each belonged to both Abnegation and Dauntless.  In the end, they made similar decisions: to fight for their family.  But in the book, Tris begins to consider this idea before she discovers the truth about her mother.  She gets a tattoo with Abnegation’s symbol and a tattoo with the Dauntless symbol.  She uses her courage to help her friends.

I talked about fear in my last post.  I think my major problem is that all of the things I’m afraid of…overcoming them only benefits me.  I don’t tend to find my courage until something else is at stake.

I think I’m still learning that these things do affect those around me, that it seeps out into my relationships and my work.  And I’m still learning that the fact that it affects me is enough.

I’m still learning to be brave.  But one of the things Four teaches us in Divergent, when we see his fears that he says have not changed since initiation, is that…we’re always learning to be brave.

Somebody I respect a lot (yes she’s on Tumblr, shh) recently said that, sometimes, we have to count our victories differently.  Actual ordinary acts of bravery are always a victory, even if no one else understands why you are afraid.

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