you can't have courage without fear.

you can't have courage without feari am glad some of you had fun with the loving God different ways exercise.  this past saturday night at the refuge we did part 2 and split into 10 different groups & spent the evening processing these questions:  1. what individual practices help you connect with God as a naturalist, contemplative, caregiver, etc. 2. what practices would you like to see us bring into our community life together? 3. what are some ways we could share communion together in a way that’s honoring to your particular connection?  it’s amazing what beautiful ideas emerge from these kinds of conversations.

also, i haven’t forgotten the co-pastoring series, really.  i got a bit derailed and haven’t had time to edit the interviews i did but do hope to finish them by next week.

meanwhile, i thought i’d share a little piece i wrote for the voca femina share party in denver this past friday night centered on fear.  it was a spoken word so just reading it sort of misses the punch.  however, i know that many of you are trying to find courage to step into all kinds of things–leaving old things, starting new things, transforming relationships, and trying to practice and dream again–so i thought i’d share it here.  it was a lovely, inspiring evening as always; a free space to share beauty feels really holy to me.  you can check out the pictures here.  voca femina continues to just travel its own journey without a lot of tending to; the share parties seem to be where we feel the most energy & life.  there are things that somehow just don’t quite work the same way online!

so here you go, a few things i’m learning about fear right now, inspired by my recent acupuncture experiences.  that woman is a therapist-spiritual director-acupuncturist all rolled into one.

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damn it, i hate fear.

i wish i didn’t know it so well.  that its tentacles hadn’t wrapped around my heart & my soul so deeply, sometimes sapping my courage like some kind of cruel sport.

fear kills.

fear destroys.

fear paralyzes.

fear maims.

but i’m learning something important right now about fear.  something deep inside the marrow of my bones, in the blood that flows through my veins into my heart and my head and my hands and my feet and my eyes and my ears.

fear can’t win.

it tries, oh it tries.

but i must–oh i must–refuse to let it.

refuse to let fear win.

refuse to let it silence me, stifle me, wither me, squelch me, punish me, abuse me, paralyze me.

life’s just too short.  too precious. too fragile.  too beautiful.  too sweet.  too rich. too deep. too wide.

to let fear blind us from beauty and hope and love and peace and peace and freedom and joy and peace. and peace. and peace.

so what’s the way out from under its grip?

how can i move when i feel so stuck?

i must find courage. i must find courage. i.must.find.courage.

i know it’s there.  it’s in me.  it’s in you.  it’s in all of us.  yours helps mine and mine helps yours. and yours helps yours.  it’s stronger than we think.  deeper than we know.

available right now.

not once i do this or do that or read this or read that or know this or know that or figure out this or figure out that or therapize this or therapize that.

it’s here.  right here.


lovely, strong, tender, mighty courage.

deep in the marrow of my bones and the blood in my veins and the ventricles of my heart.

courage, crying out–“use me. use me.  use me.  i may be small.  i may not be as loud as you wish.  but i’m here. i’m here.  i’m here.  to help you. to strengthen you.  to move you.  and just so you know, i may not look like it, but i’m way stronger than that ugly bastard named fear.  quit. letting him. win. quit standing there yelling and screaming at him.  instead, maybe reach out and make friends with him. “

you can have fear without courage, but you can’t have courage without fear.

you can have fear without courage, but you can’t have courage without fear.

that’s what courage is.  doing hard things scared.

i can. i must. i will. i am.

you can.

you must.

you will.

you are.

–  kathy escobar, from voca femina, august 2011

* * * * *

God, help us do hard things scared.

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life, online, and outside. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a hub for healing community, social action, and creative collaboration in North Denver, co-directs #communityheals, a non-profit organization dedicated to making spaces for transformation accessible for all, and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.


  • Thank you, Sister. Came at just the right time. Looking forward to meeting you soon. Are you still planning on coming through Pueblo this week?

    • thanks amy. i hope you got my email but no-go on coming down that way this past week but we need to make a plan…it will be so fun to finally catch up. peace and courage to you in the beautiful work you are doing!

  • So very beautiful. While there was something so special about seeing it performed, there is also an element of emotional comprehension that helps reading it too. I loved this line” “i know it’s there. it’s in me. it’s in you. it’s in all of us. yours helps mine and mine helps yours. and yours helps yours. it’s stronger than we think. deeper than we know.” We mention a lot the term borrowed hope, and I like he concept of lended courage. Your life paves the way for so many others to grab hold of mustard seeds of courage, and we get to see the beauty with the blossoms. Glad that we get to lend strength to one another in this crazy journey. xo

    • thanks my dear, those voca nights are always so pretty. i am glad for all the borrowed hope and borrowed courage and lended hope and lended courage. it is, indeed, very beautiful and much needed, that’s for sure. xoxoxo

  • Hmmm… so I have been told. 🙂
    It’s funny, it seems that courage is not something you feel. I rarely feel courageous. I think it is, at least in part, a determination that no matter how afraid you get, there is something more important to you than the fear.

    • i think that’s so true–“i rarely feel courageous” in the moment it sure never feels that way. afterward sometimes, i’m like “wow, that was brave”. yeah, there are so many things more important than fear…

  • Thanks so much, Kathy. If you have ever read the book “Hinds Feet on High Places”, you will know what I am saying when I say this:
    THIS piece is the anthem, the touchstone, the teeth…and the inspiration for all the Much Afraids’ out there. This truly DOES exemplify how to enact a metamorphisis from Much Afraid into Acceptance with Joy (and a LOT of courage!)

  • Kathy- I hope and pray so many who need to read this post find their way here!!!! Thank you my distant special friend for sharing words and a spirit which has LOVE at its core- for ALL!!! So wish i was in denver right now and sharing time with you. No courage without fear!!!! (((((( Kathy))))


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