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Finding your courage

Bill Fox

Bill Fox

By Bill Fox/Columnist

I have written on the first three spiritual principles found in all major world religions – honesty, hope, and faith. Today, I will look at the fourth principle of courage.

Two definitions of courage are:

-The ability to do something that frightens one. “She called on all her courage to face the ordeal.”

-Strength in the face of pain or grief. “He fought his illness with great courage.”


In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are endless examples of courage. I think daily of the nurses, doctors and personal support workers who display unbelievable courage in helping patients every day to endure their illnesses.

I recall when I was about eight years old, I developed pneumonia and had to be hospitalized for about 10 days in Toronto East General Hospital, now known as Michael Garron Hospital. I don’t recall anything about my stay in the hospital other than when I was being discharged I was crying. Why? I was crying because I would no longer be seing the nurses I grew to love. They were so kind and caring, they made a lasting impression on this 73-year-old.

Times change, and especially today the nurses and PSWs I believe are stretched to the max trying to deal with present conditions, but still being kind and caring. I believe it is all about attitude. Both my dad and my mother-in-law were residents of our local Extendicare nursing home. Eventually, they both passed away as patients. Both my family and my wife’s family are so indebted to the care-providers at this facility. I wish I could remember the names now of the attendents who showed a real care and concern for the well-being of our parents. We certainly always remember the faces, particularly of one gentleman who cared for both my mother-in-law and my dad briefly as well.

We are presently surrounded with people of courage. Anyone in the service industries or who are frontline workers display courage daily in providing services for us.

I recently attended an online funeral of a young friend who passed away from brain cancer after surviving eight years beyond the time his doctors predicted. The courage and fight he showed in battling his disease with a positive attitude is an inspiration to all that knew him. Michael was 36 and left behind his wife and five-year-old daughter. His daughter will always remember that her dad went to heaven on the day of her fifth birthday, and is there now in spirit looking out for her. Mike’s wife gave the most courageous eulogy I have ever witnessed. I believe that Mike is a warrior now in heaven, and his wife, with her courage, is a warrior here for her daughter, family and friends.

Here are some quotes that may inspire us:

– “I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness of life.” – Jack Kerouac

– “Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.” – Tecumseh
– “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” – Eleanor Roosevelt

– “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.” -Steve Jobs
– “Those who have the strength and the love to sit with a dying patient in the silence that goes beyond words will know that this moment is neither frightening nor painful, but a peaceful cessation of the functioning of the body.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross – Yet the spirit lives on.

– “I thank my God for graciously granting me the opportunity of learning that death is the key which unlocks the door to our true happiness.” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

I trust we all remain courageous as we continue to practise physical distancing and allow our Earth to heal. I’m at if you want to share your stories of courage with me.