Courage, the Spirit of Daring and Bearing, by Inazo Nitobe
We typically think of courage as a kind of action, the dramatic rescue from a burning building or some other charging forth in the face of peril. Contemporary culture valorizes being in motion and tends to view internal disciplines as a species of inactivity. However invisible our inner actions may appear, they do manifest themselves in virtue. In Inazo Nitobe’s view, courage is both a spirit of daring and of bearing. That is to say, external acts of courage depend upon our capacity for composure. “Tranquillity is courage in repose.”
The Sabbath–whatever day on which it’s celebrated–is a day of intentional rest. But that does not mean it is a day of inactivity. How do we practice that inner courage to face our fears, our uncertainties, our weaknesses? How do we practice the calm that allows us not to be shaken by the storm? What elements in our inner life would we want to be more courageous in addressing? How often does our striving for daring obscure our capacity for bearing? Quiet gives us space for something more.
Todd Breyfogle, Denver, Colorado