Does anyone remember the TV show GUTS on Nickelodeon? There was the wave pool. The red, blue, and purple contestants ‘spilling their guts.’ The aggro crag. It only ran from 1992-95 so while I’m not exactly sure who reads this blog, chances are good that you never saw an episode. Don’t worry, though, because I’m confident that I watched enough for both of us.
Fortitude, one of the four ‘Cardinal Virtues’, includes two kinds of courage:
- The courage to face danger. And,
- The courage to ‘stick it’ under pain.
C.S. Lewis writes that you won’t make it very far on the path to a virtuous life without fortitude, which in modern English most nearly translates to guts. In other words: Life. Takes. Guts. … a serious dose of ’em.
Today is March 1. That means that this month – in 15 short days! – I will be driving away from the windy city heading to Pasadena, California. For so many reasons I’m terrified: I’ve lived in Chicago my whole life. I’m going alone. I don’t know where I’m living yet. I don’t know what I want to do after I finish my theology degree. I don’t know who I’ll meet there. I don’t, in some ways, even know why I’m going.
But it’s happening. And on March 26 I’ll be sitting in a classroom at Fuller Seminary, calling Pasadena home for at least the next 15 months.
Fortitude is not the absence of fear. At least I hope not because of all the things I feel, fear is near the top of the list. And so I’m mustering up all the guts I have (and all those I can borrow from friends and family) and I’m going.
To live, to experience all that life has to offer and teach us, I think we need to regularly practice spilling our guts. It’s not just good for pre-teen TV shows, or for inspiring mantras of doing things every day that scare us. I believe fortitude is a core component to living a life of faith.
More than doing this one particular action with great fortitude, I hope to become #thekindofperson who embodies a life, character, and quality of guts.