I’ve been thinking a lot about courage this week. My sister-in-law, Lydia de Korte lost her battle with cancer. Because Lydia lives in Holland she could decide when she was going to pass. She had the courage to set everything about the end of her life.
Is it irony that the word ‘courage’ comes from the French word ‘coeur’ or heart? When we die, it is literally our heart that stops beating. And a heart is the symbol of love. So in that way, our love that keeps us alive. Courage is at the heart of who we are and what we make of our life. Showing our love for the people in our lives – family, friends, colleagues, bosses, and complete strangers takes courage.
As I reflect on this week, I see Lydia’s decision in a new way. It was not only for her to end her pain, which it certainly was. It was a profound act of love for her family who loved her deeply. In her love, she was able to not only end her suffering but that of the people who loved her and were sharing her pain.
If choosing to die can be an act of love, certainly choosing to live is an act of love. And yet, it is often difficult to have the courage to open our hearts to experience or show our love to ourselves and the world.
Without the courage to love, how can we have the courage to live? I reckon the ‘O’ in ‘love’ represents the openness one needs to fully experience the world and the ‘I’ in ‘live’ is that when we are not ourselves and don’t love ourselves, we truly can’t live.
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anais Nin
Courage is key in living curiously and creatively. Love gives us the strength we need to have the courage to explore and creative.
Lydia had the courage to die in peace.