Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Comfort And Fortitude

Our old word "comfort" did not originally mean ease, it meant "with fortitude, with courage." The ability to face a situation with courage regardless of the outcome does give a kind of comfort that is possible in no other way. This comfort or courage is not evoked by putting our confidence in a sure thing or in some guaranteed safety, but rather in some risk whose outcome is uncertain. The person who can face difficulties "with courage" will find that he is buttressed from within. Just as a soft balloon yields to the touch and a hard balloon resists outside pressure so one who has sufficient internal resistance can withstand forces that press in upon him. An ability to endure whatever happens "with fortitude, with courage" should enable us, in the root sense of the word, to have comfort.

From Moments of Meditation by Paul S. McElroy 1961

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