Fear or courage ?

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Cathy H

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I found this statement to be eye-opening.

“Fear never wrote a symphony or a poem, never negotiated a peace treaty, never cured a disease. Fear never pulled a family out of poverty or a country out of bigotry – it never saved a marriage or a business. Courage did that, faith did that. But fear? It herds us into a prison and slams the door.”
… Max Lucado
 

Jimi

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So is it courage that pushes us to live and suffer this disease or is it the fear of the unknown - death ? I often wonder which.
 

jonico

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One would have to know the broader context of why Max makes that statement to firmly land on either agreement or disagreement, but taking it at face value I largely disagree.

I don't see how crafting a symphony or writing a poem takes courage. Strikes me that they take talent, determination, creativity, etc. Similar with curing a disease. I will give Max 'pulling a family out of poverty or a country out of bigotry'. Those can definitely take courage. Saving a marriage - I have to imagine takes both the courage not to give up and the fear of losing something very special. Fear likely drives the courage in that case. Same with a business.

And then there are many reasons to negotiate a peace treaty, including courage and fear. Most such treaties are negotiated out of an abundance of fear of escalation. Admittedly it takes courage to come to the table, but the rational underlying cause is fear.

Sorry... I just don't think he gave the greatest examples of what it takes to be courageous. And I'm not too fond of this kind of generic diminishing of fear. Fear in and of itself is not the problem. Letting fear win, instead of acknowledging it and pressing on in the face of our fears is the real problem. That's being courageous and fear and courage go hand-in-hand. Throwing oneself on a live hand grenade to save several fellow soldiers is Courageous. The soldier who did it had to been afraid, but the fear didn't stop him.

And finally, to Jimi's interesting point, I'd contend the underlying fear of the 'unknown - death' is one driver of the courage PALS embody as they press on in the face of great adversity. Not the only one, but certainly a factor.

Thanks for posting Cathy... interesting to think about.
 

Jimi

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Very well said Jonico. Thanks
 

jonico

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This is a great example of when it's not an either or, what Max was trying to convey I imagine...

Here's a woman who was fearless AND courageous, while the nurses at the door were frozen by fear.
 
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wmilo

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I suspect the distinction Max had in mind was between fear which prevents us from acting and courage which allows us to act in spite of fear (which Jonico described). But it is too simplistic to suggest it is one of the other.

"Faith" could cover a spectrum from religious faith, to faith that one has something worthwhile to contribute (such as a symphony), to a belief that worthy goals are justified in spite of personal risk or hardship (such as working to overcome bigotry).

I also agree with Jonico's thought that most PALS' experience is multi-faceted, and that while some fear the dying process, many also want to "finish well" (whatever that means to them individually).
 

krnNdug

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He easily could have found better examples. Personally, I have to live the life I am given. Living with ALS is neither fearful or courageous. It is living. The other terms are ones we learn as we age. As we learn, we differ. And where we differ, in this day and age it means the other person, side, group are entirely wrong! Bull hockey.
 
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