The other day I was chatting and I told the group that growing old takes courage.  Today out of the blue the word courage came to me as if it was something I was to think about or comment upon or otherwise bring into my consciousness.

Each year I look to the world around me and listen for a phrase or a word or a nugget of information to guide me throughout the next 365 days or so.  One year everywhere I turned I heard the word BOLD.  Another year I heard as clear as if someone spoke it to me the word PASSION.  It occurs to me today that maybe I have been supposed to be hearing the word COURAGE and perhaps have and just not internalized it.  I heard it today.  So what is courage?

Sources tell me:

The Bible:

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Romans 8:15 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

The Dictionary Merriam-Webster (selections it was very long):



Definition of COURAGE

: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

Examples of COURAGE

She has the courage to support unpopular causes.

It takes courage to stand up for your rights.

But as long as your courage holds out you may as well go right ahead making a fool of yourself. All brave men are fools. —Robert Frost, 17 Apr. 1915, in Selected Letters of Robert Frost , 1964

Origin of COURAGE

Middle English corage, from Anglo-French curage, from quer, coer heart, from Latin cor — more at heart

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of COURAGE

courage, mettle, spirit, resolution, tenacity mean mental or moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship. courage implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty <the courage to support unpopular causes>. mettle suggests an ingrained capacity for meeting strain or difficulty with fortitude and resilience <a challenge that will test your mettle>. spirit also suggests a quality of temperament enabling one to hold one’s own or keep up one’s morale when opposed or threatened <her spirit was unbroken by failure>. resolution stresses firm determination to achieve one’s ends <the resolution of pioneer women>. tenacity adds to resolution implications of stubborn persistence and unwillingness to admit defeat <held to their beliefs with great tenacity>

The Wizard of OZ:

Cowardly Lion: Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?

What brought this word to mind I do not know?  I know I love it in church when we greet our fellow companions on the journey with the sign of peace.  Is this also sharing Christ’s courage as in the scripture passage above?

Is courage only what the cowardly lion says of it?  A song? A game? Or is it more in line with the Synonym discussion above?  I think I am looking to that today.  I think it takes courage to do most anything today.

It takes courage to run for political office as your background will probably be dissected with a fine tooth comb.  If you care about your character it best be clean!  It also takes courage to stand for your beliefs.  Ron Paul comes to mind.  He had the courage to stand strong on his Libertarian beliefs throughout this whole Presidential Campaign.  He certainly had the firmness of mind and the mettle.  One has to admire that I believe.

It takes courage to do anything in the extreme I believe.  Extreme sports, which I wrote about last summer, is an example of one kind of courage.  I think that kind of courage may not be as tough as others.  While you know it will be challenging and hard one is choosing this activity and usually prepared for all kinds of circumstances until the completion of the event. 

To me courage comes more in the real unknowing.  It takes courage to hear a diagnosis of cancer or some other life-threatening condition.  You have absolutely no idea what is in store for you and your family.  You listen and make a plan and do the best you can with the information you have and hopefully survive.  Unlike the planning of an extreme sport, this was not chosen.

I believe it takes courage for an addict to ask for help – once – twice – three – four – as many times as it takes until he or she overcomes their own destructive desires.  It may be courage that sees the families through all of this as well.

I believe it takes courage to stand up for oneself.  It is hard to tell someone that you are hurt by their actions or comments.  It takes courage to say I need you to listen to me.  It takes courage to share that you are scared.  It takes courage to say I am ashamed.  It takes courage to say I am lonely. It takes courage not to interfere.  It takes courage to follow a path you have set for yourself.  It takes the same amount of courage to say I made the wrong decision.  These types of courage would come under the discussion group of spirit I think.

Sometimes it simply takes courage just to get up in the morning.  Who knows what else I will hear there this day.



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