by Sandy Anderson  •  Courage is a universal virtue. All beings want it; all beings need it to survive, to thrive, and to move forward in their lives, to protect their young, and to go for their goals.

This quote is from Norman Paulsen, founder of Sunburst Community: “Your inner quest and surrender to God gives you the strength and confidence to face and overcome your fears. The presence and attainment of courage on the pathway homeward is realized through your unceasing love and devotion to God. Love bestows courage.”

All beings require courage to stand up, to be a part of this mighty miracle, to be a part of this beautiful life that moves in all of us. Courage is essential to affirm “I am,” to become who we really are. Every step of the way demands courage.

Every virtue is tested at some point in our lives, at a time when we must stand up and claim that virtue. Courage is a multi-faceted jewel that is reflected in all virtues. It’s a jewel of joy. Day by day, in many ways, we are tested in it. We all feel fear at some time. And we can all claim the virtue of courage. It is within us.

 I want to tell a little story about when I had to face my own fears. For me it was a victory I’ll never forget it. My husband and I planned a trip to Santa Cruz Island to go kayaking, when there was to be no swell and the tide would be low. Two days before we went out, we found out it was going to be windy, but we went anyway. 

We got in the water, and because of the wind, there were big waves. They looked like they were going to break on us, but they weren’t. I remember at one point there was a huge wave coming right at me, and I almost screamed. Then I remembered, “No, it won’t break on me,” and it just went right underneath the kayak. It took me awhile to relax and trust that I would be safe.

My companion in overcoming that fear was the One that can allay all fears. It was Living Spirit. We went through the big waves and into the sea caves together. We went into almost every cave, every tunnel, and every arch.

I remember on the way home feeling thoroughly ecstatic, not just because I’d been kayaking, but because I had conquered my fear.  Spirit gave me the confidence, strength, and courage to feel the fear and move through it. That’s one of the blessings that we can call on everyday while in this great earthly drama. My experience that day inspired this prayer:

Living Spirit, you bestow on us courage whenever we ask for it.
You bestow courage from your essence, from your blessing.
We reach out with both our hands and our hearts to embrace you,
to allow your freedom to move and create within our lives.
We offer this canvas of our lives to you for a beautiful painting.
We will paint with you, and sing along with your sacred song.

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