August 28, 2011

As we draw closer to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, I, like many, reflect on the bravery and heroic acts of those who gave their lives in attempts to help others.  I think of the 343 fireman who, not walked, but ran into a burning inferno with seemingly no thought for their own safety.  It seems they were so focused in their mission to assist and save those in need that they completely forgot about themselves. Rushing to the aid of perfect strangers, many lose their own lives.  What prompts this type of action?  What kind of people are these who would pay the ultimate price in their attempts to rescue those whom they have no visible connection? I think of the many policemen, medical workers who gave their lives in the line of duty. The many ordinary civilians whose acts of heroism will live on forever in the hearts and minds of the families left behind.  What is it that produces men and women who will do these things for others?  Seems their seemingly random acts of bravery are even more highlighted in the fact of the unthinkable calculated evil they all were working against.  Just as we were shocked and horrified to learn of the specific planning that took place in  these attacks on innocent men, women and children, we were humbled and amazed to hear of the many stories of true bravery that took place at the same time.

Does bravery and acts of heroics take place in void of uncultivated spontaneity or is there a process that begins long before the action is required?  I see a process.  Spontaneity to do the right thing only happens when the seeds of morality, service and commitment to “do the right thing no matter the cost” have been sown. Just as we saw the seeds of hatred and cruelty produce the horror we now call “9/11”, we also saw the seeds of human decency, courage and morality produce acts that moved and touched hearts worldwide…even to this day.  To pay tribute to these many brave ones who risked everything is good. It is right that we do so. 

Hopefully their example will also sow and water the seeds of bravery in each one of us who remain.  Bravery to make right choices when the time comes.  Courage to say not to evil in all forms and say “yes’ to doing the right thing. Even when it costs us something.  Even when it costs us everything. This includes daily choices about how we live our lives, for as we saw so dramatically in the events of 9/11, how we choose to live our lives affect the lives of others. We must come to terms with the fact that there is no “idle thing”. Everything we do causes a chain reaction.  Either for good or evil. Bravery is a series of choices.  My prayer is that each of us will see this and choose rightly.

Venetia Carpenter

Founder/President, Ecclesia International Ministries

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