Browsing the archives for the Courage tag

Wake Up Call! – Your Courage



Your courage to be guided by what sustains your life is a precious gift.

I was mesmerized by a formation of twelve hundred stones this week. I was on Robben Island and each stone had been placed by a former political prisoner at a reunion marking their years or decades of incarceration.

I could have viewed it as another cairn of stones but instead it was a place of pilgrimage.

Thinking of the great pilgrim sites I remembered their drawing us into truths more spacious than ourselves. I was invited to think of the courage of each person who had placed a stone on the cairn; the courage to believe in freedom and their own worth in the midst of attempts to destroy them.

The courage of ordinary people has filled my mind this week. It’s caused me to pause and acknowledge the dark moments in which I’ve had the courage to sustain my own worth and goodness. What courage sustains you on your journey?


  • Be thankful for the courage of those known and unknown to you

  • Be mindful of the courage you have in life’s challenging times

Notice how courage sustains you and give thanks for its many expressions.

Share a story about sustaining courage here.

Transform your life with The Book of Forgiving

Choose to make 2014 a New Year of love and trust

Finding purpose and meaning in your work

Pass this on! – 5 Tools for raising compassionate kids

A New Way to Be Human – available at Amazon, B&N and your local Indie book store.

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©2014 Robert V. Taylor

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Is Good News Underrated?

Robert V. Taylor

Watching the news is often an exercise in testing your endurance about crises, disasters and heart-breaking stories.  The tsunami of bad news buries the abundance of good news stories that exist. If we are what we surround ourselves with then paying attention to the good news stories alters our experience of being alive.

A man I know was determined to stop watching or reading the news because he said it made him feel helpless and despondent. A friend of his challenged him – “There’s an invitation in the news inviting you to respond to an issue and become a participant in repairing the world.” It was a transformative challenge for him.

Finding himself repeatedly drawn to stories about the lack of access to education plaguing young girls around the world he began to educate himself on the issue and ultimately give of his time to work with others to build schools aimed at educating girls in Africa and Asia. His life has been changed by the work he has become passionate about. He says, “I’ve become a proselytizer seizing every opportunity to talk with anyone I can about the need to educate girls. I tell stories of the amazing work people are doing!”

His proactive response to the challenge of the bad news that had overwhelmed him is a story of good news. Some media platforms are responding to the yearning for good news.  With its CNN Heroes awards and features CNN has tipped its hat to highlighting positive transformative stories of ordinary people putting compassion and hope to work.

Huffington Post has taken a bold step in launching their Good News platform to counter the cynicism that much of the news invites. Arianna Huffington says that, “Those of us in the news media have provided too many autopsies of what went wrong and not enough biopsies.” She has raised the bar and that is worth cheering!

With every act of compassion, with every idea implemented to improve the lot of others, with each word of kindness the experience of being human and being alive is transformed. The courage, imagination and voice of each of us have a cumulative energy and power to polish the world.

The real crisis and heart-breaking stories invite us in, reminding us of our common humanity and our need for one another. The mantra of media executives is that the titillating, the scandalous and the invented crises are what the public responds to or craves. That presumption and the life-draining news that results from it can only be changed by you and me.

In neighborhoods, offices, community groups, families and towns across the country the stories of the good abound. When you intentionally tell those stories you create a different energy. When you interject a conversation about gloom and doom news with positive stories you shift the narrative of what is possible, of what it means to be human.

The negative news is highly overrated. The way to change those ratings is to engage with the positive stories. Not to avoid the awful realities or crises that exists for many, but to invite ourselves and others into a fuller narrative. Good News will become more highly rated, more sought after when we make our need for it known. Social media reminds us that it lies in our hands to do that!

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Rejoicing in death of a child? Nathan Halbach, Son abandoned by Father

Nathan Halbach has only several weeks to live before his 22 year old life ends. His battle with cancer is coming to an end. Nathan’s biological father is a Roman Catholic priest who chose to be an absent dad. The Roman Catholic Church has wished Nathan and his mother away. Nathan’s mom, Pat Bon, believes the church will rejoice when her son dies. If only they had followed President Obama’s advice ( on the ethic of responsibility: “What makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one.” Nathan’s courageous life sheds a light on responsibility.

Nathan’s dad is Fr. Henry Wallenberg, a member of the Franciscan order of St. Francis of Assisi. As a young priest he fathered Nathan. After this family lived together for five years the Franciscans demanded a legal agreement with Nathan’s mother to separate the family and guarantee her silence. ( Surely not a pro-life move to break up and silence a family?

Pat Bond’s attempts to get support from the church for the exorbitant medical bills for Nathan’s cancer treatments were fruitless. Until the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) picked up on the story. It turns out that Nathan’s dad is facing allegations of abusing a female high school student. SNAP’s involvement resulted in yesterday’s announcement that the church would pay for Nathan’s burial expenses. How ironic.

Last night Pat Bond spoke on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 ( about how the church had wanted her and Nathan out of their lives. Speaking about the offer to pay for Nathan’s funeral expenses she said, “The day my son goes, the church will rejoice”. It seems incomprehensible to imagine that Pat Bond is correct. The thought of such rejoicing is vile. More so, because it is consistent with Pat’s experience. She is not looking for retributive justice. Will restorative justice be offered?

This is not a story about the merits, behavioral impacts or wisdom of celibacy. It is not a story of sexual abuse. Although it may raise those questions for many.

It is a story about the value that marked St. Francis’ life and for which he was hounded – love. Hundreds of years ago Francis wrote about imagining God coming to his house and asking for charity. Francis says he fell on his knees and asked what he might give. “Just love. Just love.” Pat and Henry had the love of a family destroyed by an imposed agreement. Nathan had no choice in this matter of love being turned in on destruction.

It is also a story about responsibility. President Obama’s Father’s Day remarks could be a study guide for institutions that are in the business of supporting life and families. It takes courage to raise a child. Abandoned by his own father, the President’s words are a call to be responsible for one another. Francis would have approved! He knew that words were no substitute for actions. For centuries, legions of Francis’ followers have lived by his rule of love and responsibility for all.

It is a story that co-joins love with responsibility. Like Obama, Nathan was abandoned by his father, Father Henry. Nothing will restore that loss. Like the President’s own mother, Pat Bond has been a single parent whose life reveals what responsibility means. The lack of responsibility on the part of the other players is jarring.

Is it possible that the legacy of Nathan’s all too short life will be a gift shining new light on responsibility? Francis would have approved. If that is so, there will not be rejoicing at his death, but profound thanks for a life of courageous responsibility.


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