Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences — good and bad.
October’s monthly worship and programming theme is “Courage”. As Brene Brown suggests above, do you associate courage with heroic and brave deeds?
Our focus this month, rather, will be on the everyday kind of courage. We will explore the kind of courage it takes just to walk through this world as openly and honestly as we can, to express the inner workings of our hearts, and to be as faithful to ourselves as we can be. In a culture of white supremacy, where value is put upon “only one right way”, this task for daily living takes courage.
Think about a time when you felt afraid to present yourself to others. Perhaps you were wearing something bold, perhaps you were ready to come out about your sexuality or gender, perhaps you had something to say and it went against the grain of your community’s norms, etc. Recognizing and naming fear within ourselves is where courage starts. We can’t choose courage unless we learn how to work through the fear that disconnects us from our true sense of self. We can’t choose courage if we let fear steer us into the future.
Fear is a tool of disconnection. Courage is a tool for connection. And first, we must connect with our own sense of self. We must be able to tell ourselves that we are enough because in this culture we are often left to feel like we aren’t good enough. Once we connect with ourselves, we can connect authentically with others, lifting one another up out of this culture of shame, blame, and competition. We can heal this culture of fear and disconnection. Let’s build a culture of courage where all are welcome “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart”.
I know we can do it, because we already do. We witnessed it this past Sunday as we shared about and blessed our pets. What a courageous community we are becoming!