Beyond Fear and Courage

On a day like any other

We come together here in connection and in community

Ordinary people with extraordinary dreams

We look toward a world where every child has an equal chance

Where the colour of our skin does not determine our opportunities

Where all love is regarded as sacred

And all lives equally worthy

By the light of this flame

May we put ourselves in the service of this great vision

And take our place in the journey toward its realisation


Reading by Kenneth L. Patton from ‘This World, My Home’  

"Nothing is strange to the child for whom everything is new. Where all things are new, nothing is novel. The child does not yet know what belongs and what does not; therefore, for him all things belong. The ear of the child is open to all music. The eyes are open to all arts. His mind is open to all tongues. His being is open to all manners. In the child's country there are no foreigners."


Do it anyway, by Kent Keith (adapted)

People can be unreasonable, irrational and self-centred.  

Forgive them anyway.If you are kind, some may accuse you of ulterior motives.  

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you may win unfaithful friends or genuine enemies.  

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  

Be honest and sincere anyway.What you spend years creating others could destroy overnight.  

Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today will often be forgotten.  

Do good anyway.

Give the best you have and it will never be enough.  

Give your best anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your [self.]  It was never between you and them anyway.

Message by Andy Pakula

For the past three months, we have focused on fear and courage.

We recognise that all of us have fear in our lives. We are afraid of small things and large. Some of our fears seem irrational to others and some are more universal. Some are sensible and keep us alive. Others are dangerous in themselves.

We know that fear can hold us back from being the people we want to be, from doing the things we want to do, and from making the difference in the world that we want to make.

How many of you would do things differently if it weren’t for fear?

How many would travel more?

How many would change jobs or careers?

How many would have more friends?

How many would be more loving?

How many would do more to help others?

We’ve talked too about people who’ve shown great courage - people who have refused to accept limitations and overcome adversity. We’ve talked about people who’ve challenged power - people who have done what they felt was right despite the danger in front of them and the terror they felt in doing it.

We’ve explored, too, how we can each confront our own fears. We know that we can borrow courage and strength from one another in community. We know that fears can be diminished and even defeated as we test and challenge them. With each small successful step forward, fear’s pull backward is lessened.

When I think about my own fears, I think particular of those that have held me back - kept me from engaging fully with other human beings, kept me from experiencing joy, made me self-conscious and defensive, and kept me from acting out of love.

And every time I have challenged those fears, it has lead me to a better place. It has helped reveal the greater self I can be - the self that fear locks away from view.

And challenging those fears has never felt good at first. It has been extra-scary, painful, anxiety-inducing… It has been miserable.

The challenge has been finding ways to stay with the discomfort to get to the other side - to bear enough discomfort to grow beyond the fear.

And I have learned some ways to bear the discomfort in order to get beyond fear. I can be mindful and watch my fear. I can lean on others for comfort and for strength to go on. I can turn my mind and heart toward that desired future and let its power help to pull me through.

We all know fear. Your fears may be like mine and they may be different. You have your own story of fear and courage - your own stories of what fears hold you back and what you would do if you didn’t fear. You have stories of confronting fear and may have stories of how to bear the discomfort that comes with challenging fear.

Don't let fear hold you back

There is no such thing as a courage that is fearless

Courage is bearing the discomfort to move through fear

To move forward toward our best selves

To move forward toward more justice and more love

Let us move forward together.