Week 27 / 28: courage

(Yes, I missed a week.)

I couldn’t fall asleep. So I picked up a book that I’m working on–The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand–which I like very much. The protagonist is Howard Roark, a fearless architect, and the archetype of a man who is courageous in his art, without concern for the opinion of others or need for the affirmation of the populace. 

Shortly after opening the book, I read a sentence that followed a brief encounter with a boy who–in a moment of questioning whether life is worth living–is inspired by one of Roark’s completed projects. 

“Thank you,” said the boy…

“[Roark] did not know that he had given someone the courage to face a lifetime.”

For some unknown reason, this sentence stopped me. It moved me. After I reread the line, I glanced away, and there sat on my nightstand a piece of paper that I am using as a bookmark. Upon it is written the word “courage.” “What does this mean?” I asked myself, feeling the weight of a holy moment.

Then I asked myself a question: “What could I love so much that I would be indifferent to what it cost me?” 

For what might you need to ask for courage right now? What might you love so very much that, in it, you would find the courage to withstand anything to see it through? 

Howard Roark and his draftsmen had an answer to this question while working day and night for a year on one of their projects, in primitive conditions. 

“They did not realize, until much later, that they had lacked comforts; and then they did not believe it–because the year at Monadnock Valley remained in their minds as the strange time when the earth stopped turning and they lived through twelve months of spring. They did not think of the snow, the frozen clots of earth, wind whistling through the cracks of planking, thin blankets over army cots, stiff fingers stretched over coal stoves in the morning, before a pencil could be held steadily. They remembered only the feeling which is the meaning of spring–one’s answer to the first blades of grass, the first buds on tree branches, the first blue of the sky–the singing answer, not to grass, trees and sky, but to the great sense of beginning, of triumphant progression, of certainty in an achievement that nothing will stop.”

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