When we’re perplexed, it helps to dig down in the roots – and this goes for language, too. One of my favorite lessons from divinity school was a casual conversation about the root words for Bravery and Courage.
The root for brave is linked to a front or face. Bravery is a kind of armor, a game face, an outer shell of strength.
The root for courage is coeur, the French word for heart. It is strength from within, strength of the heart. A totally different root.
It is brave to speak with conviction. It is courageous to say, “I don’t know.”
It is brave to quietly persevere. It is courageous to speak up.
It is brave to forge a new path. It is courageous to continue when no one’s cheering you on.
It is brave to be busy. It is courageous to be still.
It is brave to shout. It is courageous to listen.
It is brave to hold back tears. It is courageous to let them flow.
Dear friends, we have been trained to be endelssly brave.
Let’s train for courage now.
I gave a little talk this fall at the amazing PopTech gathering which featured this theme – here is a short clip, along with many other highlights from that weekend.