Sometimes courage is very quiet.

I often ask God to give people courage.

I’m usually standing near a bed. On the bed is a person who is dying, with two or three people standing close.

I suppose that those listening may think I’m asking for courage to persevere, to continue the fight, to attempt everything impossible to save this life.

I’m not.

I’m simply asking God to provide courage.

See, sometimes, the most courageous work is simply doing small ordinary things in silence. Walking into a room where our inevitable physical death is going to happen today. Sitting quietly holding a hand. Exchanging washcloths warmed with the final fever for those cooled in an ordinary sink.

Sometimes the most courageous way to honor a life is to quietly bear witness as it ends.

We pray for miracles in sick rooms, wanting it to look like the dying person raised.

Often, the miracle is that the people by the bed eventually slip out of the room, with enough courage and remembered stories to walk down the hall, a breath at a time.  


People who are grieving hear all kinds of annoying things from friends.  This Is Hard: What I Say When Loved Ones Die, offers you 15 short sentences that will help you, not preach at you, and a journal to help you remember what matters.