"Courage faces fear and thereby masters it. Cowardice represses fear and is thereby mastered by it. Courageous men never lose the zest for living even through their life situation is zestless; cowardly men, overwhelmed by the uncertainties of life, lose the will to live. We must constantly build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”
-- from his sermon, "Antidotes for Fear" in "Strength to Love" by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Reflection on the quotation by a King Center staff member:
In life there will always be choices and events that we are afraid to face and conquer for various reasons. Most times we are afraid to fail and don’t want the discomfort that comes along with stepping out on faith. Many people play it safe in life, but if we live life in fear we will never live. Tough situations and decisions are what molds us, but if we never have the courage to handle these situations we will never grow as individuals. And courage is not always a big, extravagant show of heroism; most times it is the small acts that are done in everyday life. Just because we are afraid to do something doesn’t mean we should do nothing at all because choosing to do nothing is still making a choice to succumb by fear. It’s better to try and fail than not to try at all. Courage is not the absence of fear, but overcoming it to do what needs to be done.
-- Katha Waters, Bookstore and Resource Center Manager, The King Center