Minute Meditation on the Courage to Live

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The Title of Paul Tillich’s Book

If a person cannot overcome a problem by changing it, then enduring it should be seen as a victory. Enduring a chronic condition or disease, such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, is a victory. A person who has lost the use of his or her arms and legs has to endure that condition, which is living victoriously.

There are many other examples of victorious living, even though they may not be obvious to some people. Sometimes, just getting out of bed in the morning is a victory, especially if a person is prone to depression or hopelessness. Completing a difficult day at work is a personal victory, because one has endured problems from the beginning to the end of the day. Not taking a sip of alcohol each day, if one is an alcoholic, is a victory. If one has social anxiety disorder, learning to be around other people is a victory. Failing a test and having the courage to take it again is a victory.

Victories, then, belong not only to those who are radiant with health and have bodily strength but also to those who live with either chronic conditions or endure psychological problems. For them, facing each new day is a challenge and completing it is a victory. They have, to borrow a phrase from Paul Tillich, “the courage to be.”

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