“The 76-year-old professor and Holocaust survivor blocked the door to his classroom with his body so students could escape the gunman by jumping out windows.” - In memory of Liviu Librescu and other victims of the Virginia Tech shootings, 16 April 2007.
Courage might be the last person you’d go to for answers these days. Unassuming, frail-looking and sometimes distracted, he seems to lack the glamour and forcefulness of Action, the casual brilliance of Talent, or the wisdom and prudence of Caution. His students, who graduate and go on to find Success, hardly ever give him a second thought. But they forget how they first sought Courage when looking for direction in their lives, beginning new endeavours, or falling in love. Those who felt stuck only had to speak with Courage to find themselves already making a first step towards progress.
In fact, Courage enjoys being out of the limelight. He has never hesitated to do the right thing, even in private, nor does he fuss about being given credit. He has pioneered many new ideas and techniques, largely when no one was paying him any attention, and he could work at them with Focus and Patience, his most reliable colleagues. Only he could comfort Anxiety, with gentle kisses and quiet jokes that drew her away from her own self absorption. Courage loves running marathons; what he lacks in energy and brawn, he makes up for in spirit and persistence.
No one really knows where Courage came from or who his parents were. In his youth, he was considered a hero, and many things, good and evil, have been done in his name. But he prefers to be remembered for his garden – where even the tiniest seeds brave the wind and rain, he says, because it is their nature to grow or die.
I once asked Courage what he was afraid of. He joked that he lived every day in fear that it would be his last. And then as I turned to go, he whispered to me what he truly feared above all else: that things would remain only as they are.
15 October 2007 00:38 hours