Out of the blue in my Yahoo mailbox I received the following quote:   

“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.”  

GK Chesterton

There’s a reason the universe sent me this quote even though I did not subscribe to the sender. It got me thinking about the types of situations in life when we need a bit of courage or even perhaps a lot of courage. Courage to get up every day after a loved one dies. Courage to share disagreement in a fruitful manner. Courage to be compassionate.

Yes I do believe sometimes it does take courage to be compassionate. We are greeted everyday with opportunities to demonstrate compassion. But sometimes we make excuses why we cannot be compassionate at that moment.  A small inner voice may say, “someone else will help” or “they don’t deserve compassion”, “I don’t have the time”, or  “others will ridicule me.”   We may need courage to slow down, be in the moment, be selfless and show compassion. We may need courage to be compassionate without criticism or judgment. And courage to be compassionate when we really don’t feel like it.

We may not think twice about being courageous and demonstrating compassion when it is truly a life or death situation. Perhaps the true courage to be compassionate is when we can easily turn our head, walk away, and ignore another’s suffering.

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