Out of the Embers of Fear: Aung San Suu Kyi
"Sometimes, in the things we’re called to do, there is a feeling of incompetence and fear of failing; this fear then becomes the strength for doing the work."
I quote these poignant words imparted by my Empowerment Mentor, Carol, during our last conversation.
I love to read Bible stories about mortals who were called to a mighty work; who became ever so aware of their limitation; who did the work, anyway. One of my favorites is the story of Esther, the Jewish queen to a Persian king, who in spite of her fear put her life on the line to save her people from annihilation.
I love the stories of our time, too; stories of heroes forged in the embers of oppression and injustice.
Today, the story of a hero will be read, retold, reflected upon by millions around the world. My mother shared the news with me when I walked into her room a few hours ago. After 7 years under house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi has been released. Her fight for the people of Myanmar has been remarkable. Her courage and perseverance under fire have been extraordinary.
I cannot help but wonder when Suu Kyi learned to make fear her ally.
Faced with the devastation of her homeland, the iron grip of military dictatorship, and the separation from her family, have there been times in her life when Suu Kyi has reconsidered her role as a vanguard for democracy in Myanmar? In the midst of a bloody and seemingly unending battle, has she ever felt inept as a voice for her people? I am sure Aung San has known her share of fear and uncertainty.
But as I look at Suu Kyi, slight of frame, unassuming, I see a woman who has taken fear by the horns, stared it in the face, mounted it, given it an “about turn,” and run with it. She treads a dangerous terrain in her pursuit of freedom for Myanmar, yet, it is not fear I see in her eyes but hope, determination, and love for her people.
So, today, I celebrate Aung San Suu Kyi and I stand with the people of Myanmar to acknowledge this eruption of hope: A woman who has given herself for the freedom of her people, and who will do it again and again.
(The image of Suu Kyi was obtained from http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/index.php/burma/gallery/C1/P24/)