What is it that binds us? What ties us down to a less than joyful life? Are we, ourselves the cause of it? What will it take for us to change?
Remember the words of the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz?
Cowardly Lion: What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?
Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman: Courage!
Yes, it takes courage to change, and sometimes it’s hard to come by. Why? Because it starts with fear.
Courage is about overcoming fear for the sake of achieving something good.
Courage is intangible within us. It is part of our human spirit. We cannot touch it. We can only see the result of it–just as we are unable to see the wind, yet its active result is apparent, in swaying trees, or even violent bursts of air that turn things upside down during a storm.
The human spirit can be amazingly courageous, allowing a person to shake off, and rise from, the worst of situations.
Some of these situations are out of our control, like an illness, or losing someone we love, but courage helps us to adjust, to trust, and to go on.
Some situations are self-imposed, such as addictions to drugs, sex, violence, and abuse of family members. But all are known by God, and thank goodness, He is a God of second chances.
But the spur to our second chance is that we must change in some way. I don’t know about you, but I’m often hesitant to change, in fact I fear it. Except, in our human personalities is the virtue of Courage, a gift that, with our cooperation, God will increase in us. Will we always succeed in changing those things we want to change? Maybe not, but even the trying is a positive action, a desire to please God in bettering ourselves.
Even trying takes Courage. Trying again, and again, increases our resolve as we inch, closer and closer, to our goal of change.
Part of Thomas Merton’s prayer: I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
God is truly a God of Second Chances. Muster the courage and see.