Sunday, August 19, 2018

Courage, Dear Heart

The word courage, often associated with being brave, strong, or taking 
chances, hasn’t always been thought of that way. When the word courage was first brought into the english language, it came from the latin word ‘cor’ meaningheart, and the original definition of courage was: to tell the story of who you arewith your whole heart.

I was given this knowledge by my friends at Lutheran Campus Ministry at the 
University of Minnesota about six months ago. At first I was confused as to 
what it means to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.

I learned about this in a faith setting, so I began to apply my thinking on this to my faith. I have always felt that being in community with others was an important part of my journey. My community at church knows I will show up for service on Wednesday nights and usually on Sunday mornings. They know my favorite hymns to sing, and they even know what it is I’m doing when I feel closest to the Lord.

What most of them don’t know is why I feel drawn to certain hymns, 
what it is I am most afraid of, and when it is I feel farthest from the Lord. 
These are the things I carry around in my heart. Realizing the 
community around me knew me but didn’t actually know my heart was
a bit of an ‘aha’ moment. I think to have courage in terms of the 
original definition is to begin aligning how you know yourself with how 
those around you know you.

To make this change I didn’t  just walk up to my friends at lunch and share
every late night thought, day dream, or question I’d ever had that I never 
got an answer for. Instead I took my everyday routines and used them 
as an opportunity to be more authentic, transparent and loving.

When we sang my favorite song on Wednesday night, instead of smiling at 
the thumbs up they gave me, I took fellowship time to tell them why it was I 
connected well with that song. When I was struggling with a message I 
didn’t understand or a prayer I thought had gone unanswered I would knock
on a door or send a message to someone I trusted. It opened up new 
conversations, new insight and deeper relationships. Not only did those 
around me begin to know my heart, but I began to know theirs.

We might think we need to have everything in place. That in order to share 
our story, it has to be perfect, the way others think our story should be or
even the way others think our story is being lived out. The truth is, if we
wait around until we feel comfortable to share what's on our hearts, we 
may never share.

I learned that we all have doubts, we all have concerns and we don’t always 
share these with those around us. For me it was my faith, but for you it could 
be uncertainty about your future, it could be struggles at home or a struggle 
with mental health.

Another thing I realized - perhaps the most important thing - is that for this 
concept to work, we must embrace each other. We must meet each 
other where we are at, recognizing each of us are only the rough drafts 
of the people we are striving to become.

Today the definition of courage is: mental or moral strength to venture, 
persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. At first glance, this may 
seem pretty far off from the original definition. At second glance, perhaps
it relates more than we think. If we are going to live our lives in a way that 
tells the story of who we are becoming and shares what is on our hearts, 
we must learn to meet people where they are at in their journey and accept 
what is on their hearts.

When we encourage others to be themselves, when we build them up from 
where they started, they in turn start to believe in themselves and trust 
themselves to be brave enough to share and live their story. One might say 
they are courageous enough to share and live their story.  

Let’s commit to bettering ourselves, to living in the journey of who we are 
becoming rather than who we are at any given moment.

How will you embrace others? How will you live your life in a way that shows 
others who you are? How can we commit to becoming a better version of 
ourselves and encourage others to do the same?

Stationed Beneath the Rising Sun,

Grace Taylor

No comments:

Post a Comment