Saturday, March 28, 2009


What am I willing to die for? What is worth more than my life?

There are those who put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect others. There are those who stand up for what they believe despite obvious threats and danger. There are those who go to the aid of others in places that are unsafe and unsure.

From soldiers in battle to the volunteers with Doctors without Borders – everyday there are thousands putting themselves at risk on behalf of a greater good. They are making a choice that the idea – be it freedom, human rights, democracy, is more important than them.

We humans are an odd lot. We have ideas that are deemed more important than even the person espousing them. Ideas that cause people to both die and kill.

We honor our martyrs. We see in them the best of what it means to be human. We see in them a selflessness. In most cases they didn’t willfully die, they were killed for what they stood for – but if history is correct, they knew there were those odds, but they didn’t back down.

There are those indelible images and memories of those who have stood up. We remember the day when Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. We can see that young man standing in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square. We watched just last year as the monks in Burma openly protested the oppressive regime, and paid the price.

In a couple of weeks Christians celebrate Easter. Jesus said “there is no greater love than one lay down his life for his friends”. Christianity’s foundation is Jesus dying because He so loved the world.

Undoubtedly, I live the life I do because of the sacrifice of others. I am motivated and moved by the human stories from Harvey Milk to Ghandi. I am challenged by their example. For now, what I have is gratitude and thankfulness. From the comfort of my chair, the glow of the screen and the warm coffee beside me – would I do the same? God, I hope so.

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