Pause + Pray

‘Courage to Be’

word courage written on a wall.


Enneagram Fours often frequent the past to explore feelings which can lead to emotional awareness and wonderful creative expression, but sometimes they can also get stuck in the past or their own nostalgia. The past is indeed full of grace, beauty, and lessons. But sometimes I find that I’m anywhere but present, anywhere but here, lost in unhelpful mental or emotional cycles that lead to a lack of presence with loves ones or the magic of life itself as it unfolds.


Torn between graces, ambivalence again
sends my soul spiraling into a space of unknowing
where you summon me to surrender once more. 
God, I tend to second-guess this path I chose,
my wild heart and wandering mind 
tangled in emotions, thoughts, memories. 
Maybe my muse is nostalgia—my imagination’s drug— 
and maybe that is OK. 
After all, you were there in the goodness of the past
and those memories connect me to the grace you gave. 
Yet, the present is a place where your grace flows too,
maybe tenfold if I dare be here.
I need you, God, to give me the courage to be.


Philosopher Paul Tillich wins the award for one of the greatest book titles of all time, Courage to Be. Though a philosophical work, these three words may as well also describe contemplation’s invitation. Courageous it is, for “to be” so often feels like letting go and detaching from whatever act of “doing” we may be using to convince ourselves we are whole. Consider using these three words—“courage to be”—as a mantra today when you begin dwelling on the past or future in an unhelpful way.

Stephen Copeland

5 thoughts on “‘Courage to Be’”

  1. I literally never heard of an enneagram four before. Had to look it up. I wish you would use words that make sense to all of us.

  2. Given that the Enneagram has been around for over 70 years, many have at least heard of it. Worst case scenario is you look it up and learn something. Horrors!

  3. TBH it’s kinda pop psychology “inside baseball” to bring up personality categories in a ‘Pause + Pray’ reflection in such glib fashion, but it can be hard to reign in priors if that’s the context/world one lives in. I agree that the author should have hyperlinked “Enneagram Four” so that the Catholic reader-on-the-street has the intended perspective.

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