Finding the Everyday Courage You Need to Live

"Give me the courage to live! Really live"

Howard Thurman


I had two surprising things happen to me yesterday. First, someone shook my hand. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal but when is the last time you shook the hand of a new acquaintance? This simple act felt a little weird after more than a year of being socially distanced. It reminded me of all the things that I used to do but have not done during Covid.

Secondly, I had a startling thing happen while driving one of our kids home from school. We had barely begun our journey when a full grown tree suddenly fell down across both lanes of traffic right in front of us. Had we been two-seconds earlier, it would have fallen right on us. Thankfully no one was hurt. It was a freak occurrence. For no apparent reason, it just fell.

A few minutes earlier I had been listening to a podcast on courage. Brene Brown said, “In twelve years of research I cannot find a single example of courage, of moral courage, spiritual courage, leadership courage…that was not based on sheer vulnerability.” She goes on to say “Being courageous is more important to me, as a value, than success.” *

The tree reminded me of the need for everyday courage. You never know when life may come crashing down on you. I have some things going on personally that are calling for courage right now. I am hopeful that as a nation we will have the courage to move into the next phase of covid guidelines; that we will have the courage to show our faces and share our smiles as well as our frowns. I hope we will have the courage to shake hands and gather and engage in life together. I hope we will have the courage to make wiser choices with our time going forward now that we have had the chance to reboot this past year. I hope our days will not fill to the brim again with things that distract us or needlessly hurry us through our days.

Each of us has opportunities for courage each day. Here are some words from Howard Thurman to carry with us:

Give Me the Courage to Live

by Howard Thurman


Give me the courage to live! Really live—not merely exist.

Live dangerously.

Scorning risk!

Live honestly.

Daring the truth—

Particularly the truth of myself.

Live resiliently—

Ever changing, ever growing, ever adapting.

Enduring the pain of change.

As though ‘twere the travail of birth.

Give me the courage to live,

Give me the strength to be free

And endure the burden of freedom

And the loneliness of those without chains;

Let me not be trapped by success

Nor by failure, nor pleasure, nor grief,

Nor malice, nor praise, nor remorse!

Give me the courage to go on!

Facing all that waits on the trail –

Going eagerly, joyously on,

Without anger or fear or regret

Taking what life gives,

Spending myself to the full,

Head high, spirit winged, …

Gracious God, hear my prayer;

Give me the courage to live.

*from The Good Life Project Podcast, “Brene Brown: On Gratitude, Vulnerability and Courage”