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The Courage of Japan

What are your first thoughts when you think of the word courage? For most of my life, I thought to be brave and courageous, a person should be without fear. Able to face danger without the slightest hesitation or thought for ones' own safety.

A professor of mine offered a different explanation “Courage is not the absence of fear” he said “without fear, courage and bravery do not exist.” For me, this means that Heroes are not few and far between or people with the inhuman ability to not feel fear. Rather, they are ordinary people, everyday heroes who face their fear and act with courage.

My heart broke along with all of yours to hear the news of the disaster in Japan. It is an unimaginable catastrophe and daily we hear news that things are worse. Today the headline is of the crisis at the nuclear power plants, thousands are being evacuated in anticipation of a potential nuclear meltdown.

I've been watching the news for hours and I cannot help but ask God, “Where are you?” For me, the answer is that God is there, in the hearts of the brave men staying behind in the control rooms of the power plants. He is there in the hearts of the individual who is helping their fellowman, even though he or she is in need of rescue themselves. He is there in the hearts of the mothers who are calming their frightened children in the midst of crushing despair.

I am overwhelmed with admiration for the people of Japan and their courage and bravery as a nation. No matter our personal faith, religion or beliefs, we can hold the people of Japan in our hearts. We are one humanity; we share in all moments, whether of happiness or devastation. We can join hands and hearts around the globe to send them our collective prayers, thoughts and energies. Please join me in sharing your thoughts, prayers and hopes for the courageous people of Japan.

(A reflection, original post date, after the tsunami of March 11, 2011)

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