All courage is a form of constancy

” He talked of those things we had spoken of so often at Rosario.  So often and so far into the night.  He said that those who have endured some misfortune will always be set apart but that it is just that misfortune which is their gift and which is their strength and that they must make their way back into the common enterprise of man for without they do so it cannot go forward and they themselves will wither in bitterness.  He said these things to me with great earnestness and great gentleness and in the light from the portal I could see that he was crying and I knew that it was my soul he wept for.  I had never been esteemed in this way.  To have a man place himself in such a position.  I did not know what to say.  That night I thought long and not without despair about what must become of me.  I  wanted very much to be a person of value and I had to ask myself how this could be possible if there were not something like a soul or like a spirit that is in the life of a person and which could endure any misfortune or disfigurement and yet be no less for it.  If one were to be a person of value that value could not be a condition subject to the hazards of fortune.  It had to be a quality that could not change.  No matter what.  Long before morning I knew that what I was seeking to discover was a thing I’d always known.  That all courage was a form of constancy.  That it was always himself that the coward abandoned first.  After this all other betrayals came easily.   I knew that courage came with less struggle for some than for others but I believed that anyone who desired it could have it.  That the desire was the thing itself.  The thing itself.  I could think of nothing else of which that was true.”

—-Cormac McCarthy All the Pretty Horses

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