"LIFE SHRINKS OR EXPANDS IN PROPORTION TO ONE'S COURAGE" Finding Courage
I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashion, even though I long ago came to the conclusion that I was not a political person and could have no comfortable place in any political group.
-- Lillian Hellman, excerpt from a letter she wrote to the House Committee on Un-American Activities
Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace.
-- Amelia Earhart
It isn't for the moment you are stuck that you need courage, but for the long uphill climb back to sanity, faith and security.
-- Anne Morrow Lindbergh
It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.
-- Delores Ibarruri (known as La Passionaria)
Let me listen to me and not to them.
-- Gertrude Stein
Courage is essential at midlife because it allows us to take the risks necessary to refocus our lives. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy reassures the Scarecrow after her dog, Toto, sniffs and growls at him.
"Oh, I'm not afraid," replied the Scarecrow; "he can't hurt the straw. . . . I'll tell you a secret," he continued, as he walked along; "there is only one thing in the world I am afraid of."
"What is that?" asked Dorothy; "the Munchkin farmer who made you?"
"No," answered the Scarecrow; "it's a lighted match."1
In each of our lives, we fear the lighted matches, and rarely can we extinguish them. We are vulnerable to fear but want to go on anyway. And we can. That is why courage is essential. If taking thoughtful risks is the road to creative change, then the vehicle is courage. We can rely on courage to carry us during the process. Change takes time; we do not create ourselves