Wes increased his speed as he held up his hand to shield his face from the jungle tree leaves. Rivets of sweat traveled down his neck as adrenalin flowed through his veins. Despite the lead weights he called feet he pushed harder overriding the exhaustion to reach the holding area where the last guy waited to be extracted.
War was never anybody’s choice but sometimes people just don’t get along. Wes stopped next to Jerry’s body and reached down to press a finger into his carotid artery. “Good, there’s still a pulse,” he murmured.
Wes pulled Jerry into a sitting position, placed the unconscious man’s arms over his shoulders then hefted him up. Wes’s legs wavered as he struggled to stand. “I must keep moving,” Wes told himself willing his brain and body to work together. As he placed one foot in front of the other Wes began to feel the forward motion giving him momentum to keep moving.
His breathing became labored under the weight he was carrying to the point Wes wasn’t sure if he would make it, but then he passed through the last of the trees that opened into a field where the rest of his regiment laid injured waiting for the Heli to land. Wes dropped to his knees and laid Jerry on the grass then fell backwards leaning against his pack to catch his breath thankful that everyone was safe.
This was the day that the men will never forget because single handedly Wes rescued twelve men in his company by carrying each injured man to safety.
Nine months later at a ceremony, Wes was awarded the Medal of Valor and was asked why he did it. Wes said, “Simple, they are my friends. I had two feet and a strong back, so I did what had to be done.”
I have been thinking a lot about what makes a person brave. What causes an individual to rise to an occasion and demonstrate exceptional courage in the face of fear and danger.
The definition of bravery is: “the quality or state of having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty.”
I doubt that I would be rescuing guys like Wes did but there are many other situations that could call me to rise, take a stand and fight. So, what qualities must I possess to thrive in situations that require the heroic trait inside of me to tackle those hard circumstances?
Values: When I am up against something scary, I need something to hold onto. Having a strong foundation that will support me through even the most difficult time in my life is good. This is what I call my principles or standards of behavior and what is important in my life. In other words, stay true to who you are.
2 Timothy 1:7 KJV
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Fear: Being brave doesn’t mean I have no fear. Ha! As scary as it is, I continue to push myself to acknowledge and embrace fears so that I can learn how to overcome them.
“Bravery is the ability to look fear in the face and say move aside, you are in the way.” Melissa Tumino
Kindness: With my past experiences it’s hard at times for me to be kind or assume the best in people. But I continue to push myself practicing at being considerate, courteous, helpful, and understanding of others. I’m a work in progress.
“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.” – Harold S. Kushner
Be Flexible: Having a plan is good but sometimes I need to just go with the flow and learn to accept what’s out of my control and be adaptable. You know, wing it!
The mental flexibility of the wise man permits him to keep an open mind and enables him to readjust himself whenever it becomes necessary for a change. – Malcolm X
I think bravery is something we see all the time but don’t recognize it for what it is. Like being a mom and dad privileged to be responsible for young ones and whose lives they protect and nurture 24/7, this takes a lot of guts and bravery.
How about going to school? I have always admired those who bravely go forth tackling all that new knowledge and endure the mental stress of assignments and testing. Yuk! I hated that part but when I graduated, I felt like I had won the ultimate battle of the brain war.
Just living in this crazy society on this planet is enough to scare anyone to go underground and never come out again. But millions of people do it daily braving the physical, mental, and the unknown elements living their lives and then go back home and regenerate for the next day.
This world is made up of millions and millions of brave and heroic people. Too bad we only hear of just a few.
I know you are one of the many and I just want to encourage you to keep up the good work. Keep being who you are with your values intact making improvements here and there to make a better you. Fear? Use it and learn from it. Always show kindness, there is no such thing as a brave bully. Allow yourself to bend like a tree in a storm being flexible and adaptable so you can tackle the task at your best. AND…don’t forget, God has your back. He is what makes us brave.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Photo by Choreograph