“Be brave, little rabbit. Take a chance.”
~ Cherise Sinclair, Breaking Free
Ah, bravery. Bravery wears many faces and takes many shapes. To some, it means courage to stand unwavering in your convictions. To others, bravery wields a sword in the face of certain defeat. Bravery can be speaking up, showing up, suiting up, or standing up. Anyone can be brave when their rowboat is on a calm, placid lake. What happens when you find yourself in roaring rapids? When you look ahead and see jagged rocks and a tumultuous waterfall? Do you jump? Do you paddle for your life? Do you light a cigar and take in the view? Do you put on your goggles, get ready to go over the falls and think, “I can’t wait to tell my friends about THIS! They better put this on YouTube!” Or do you feel the undeniable itch in your back, between your shoulder blades, and finally–though you are oh so scared–decide to spread your wings … and fly?
Be brave, little rabbits. Take a chance. You can be heroes. Any day, every day. – Christy and Jennie
“She was bored. She loved, had capacity to love, for love, to give and accept love. Only she tried twice and failed twice to find somebody not just strong enough to deserve it, earn it, match it, but even brave enough to accept it.” ~ William Faulkner, The Town
“The bravest person I know is afraid of the dark. She sleeps with a night lamp always, but if her friends are threatened? She suddenly thinks she’s a bear twelve feet tall and attacks whoever scared her friends.” ~ Tamora Pierce, Cold Fire
“A craven can be as brave as any man, when there is nothing to fear. And we all do our duty, when there is no cost to it. How easy it seems then, to walk the path of honor. Yet soon or late in every man’s life comes a day when it is not easy, a day when he must choose.” ~ George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
“Though I did not know it then, nor would I come to realize it for many years, what transpired in the fall of 1960 in New Orleans would forever change my life and help shape a nation. When I think back on that time and all that has occurred since, I realize a lot has changed. I also know there is much more to be done. That fateful walk to school began a journey, and I have now developed a vision to continue moving forward.” ~ Ruby Bridges
“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”
~ George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
“Peter did not feel very brave; indeed, he felt he was going to be sick. But that made no difference to what he had to do.” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia
“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.” ~ Mark Twain
“It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.” ~ Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
“What’s the bravest thing you ever did?
He spat in the road a bloody phlegm. Getting up this morning, he said.”
~ Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Touched by an Angel
by Maya Angelou
“We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.”
~ “Touched by an Angel” by Maya Angelou
“In order to fly you have to create space in the open air so that your wings can really spread out. It’s like a parachute. They only work from a high altitude. To fly you have to begin taking risks. If you don’t want to, maybe the best thing is just to give up, and keep walking forever.” ~ Jorge Bucay, Déjame Que Te Cuente
“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” ~ Hunter S. Thompson
The Difference Between Strength and Courage
It takes strength to be certain,
It takes courage to have doubts.
It takes strength to fit in,
It takes courage to stand out.
It takes strength to feel a friend’s pain,
It takes courage to feel your own pain.
It takes strength to hide your own pains,
It takes courage to show them.
It takes strength to stand guard,
It takes courage to let down your guard.
It takes strength to conquer,
It takes courage to surrender.
It takes strength to endure abuses,
It takes courage to stop them.
It takes strength to stand alone,
It takes courage to lean on a friend.
It takes strength to love,
It takes courage to be loved.
It takes strength to survive,
It takes courage to live.
~ by David L. Griffith (we believe this source to be accurate, though we have also seen “Author Unknown”)
“A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more.” ~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born.” ~ Malala Yousafzai
“We live and breathe words. … It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colors and textures and sounds, I felt–I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you.”
~ Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince
Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt, excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic”
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” ~ Ambrose Redmoon
“Lady Macbeth: But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we’ll not fail.” ~ William Shakespeare, Macbeth
by Mary Oliver
This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers
and they open–
pools of lace,
white and pink–
and all day the black ants climb over them,
boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away
to their dark, underground cities–
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,
the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again–
beauty the brave, the exemplary,
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
“Sam: I wonder if we’ll ever be put into songs or tales.
Sam: I wonder if people will ever say, ‘Let’s hear about Frodo and the Ring.’ And they’ll say ‘Yes, that’s one of my favorite stories. Frodo was really courageous, wasn’t he, Dad?’ ‘Yes, my boy, the most famousest of hobbits. And that’s saying a lot.’
Frodo: You’ve left out one of the chief characters – Samwise the Brave. I want to hear more about Sam. Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam.
Sam: Now Mr. Frodo, you shouldn’t make fun; I was being serious.
Frodo: So was I.
Sam: Samwise the Brave…”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
Would you like to hear
I bravely fought the–
~ “The Battle” by Shel Silverstein
This week’s Bravery-themed music playlist via YouTube, features music by: CAKE, Leonard Cohen, Drive By Truckers, Warren Zevon, and more.
Don’t Forget: You are welcome to join me and Jennie at Words For The Year to get a single Words selection from me and/or Jennie every day.
What defines bravery to you? Who do you consider one of the most brave persons in history? Do you have a favorite BRAVE song or quote?
Need more bravery-inspriation? Watch this … you’ll be ready to take on the world!