Monday, February 27, 2012

The Definition of Bravery

Okay, since I am apparently still showing, and I do feel a stirring of thoughts in my heart, I will try to come back to this forum. My heart is a bit heavy these days, so the posts may not be as joyful as they once were. Though I am seeking joy in all that I do, so we shall see.

As for this post, I have some thoughts on bravery that I want to explore.

Many of you, dear readers, know that I have a heart for the crushed souls of this world. I am currently attempting to gain a law degree to better equip me to fight some of the world's greatest atrocities, including, and most likely focusing on Human Trafficking. No doubt I will write more on this in coming months and years, but that is not the true focus of this post.

I decided earlier this year that as I learn all about lawyering, I also needed to balance my education by learning much more about human trafficking. Not just where it happens, but how, why, who is behind it, who is victim of it, and who is complacent in the battle. To that end I have begun to read several books, blogs, and articles. In the current book I am reading, I have just come across a part where a woman who was part of a labor enslavement ring in Florida stood up at her enslaver's sentencing, and spoke against him. She is 4'10", has been forced to labor in fields doing work that I know would have me begging off within an hour, and has done so with little or no pay. She has seen this man beat, torture, and even kill those who acted against him. She knows that should he get a light sentence, or indeed ever get out of prison, that he will be look for revenge, and she will be in his sights.

And she testifies anyway.

She testified to a judicial system that for years ignored her, that allowed her friends to die, that implicitly told her she was of little to no value, and she did so to make sure justice was done.

That is bravery I can hardly fathom.

I like to think of myself as brave. I have been called upon investigate scary noises for neighbors, walk through dark basements to flip breakers, and once even waited for and intercepted a burglar who had been robbing one of my work sites (did I ever tell my mother about that? Hmmmm). However, the more I learn about the world, the more I see those acts as bravado. They were done to show the world how powerful I could be. There are people in this world who have shown true bravery.

Testifying against your abuser is bravery I will probably never even touch.

I go to school with two men who have served our country in the military. They have walked through dangers I can not even pretend to know. Not to show off, but because that was the job they were assigned to do. They are brave.

Corrie Ten Boom chose to hide and protect Jews in her home, even though she knew that doing so could (and eventually did) result in her own arrest and abuse. She did it because she knew that doing what was right and pleasing to the Lord was far more important than living a comfortable life in troubled times. She, and her family, were brave.

My mother was just a few months ago diagnosed with breast cancer. Recently, she found out that she will indeed have to have a mastectomy and chemo therapy. As our family dealt with the news that what we had hoped would be a health blip was going to be a health battle, it was my mother who sent out multiple emails and blogposts to encourage us. She made sure that while we were feeling crushed by the pain of the situation we focused on the blessing God has provided for her and our family. As she heads into this scary and unsure time, she is choosing to lead her family. That is bravery that humbles me.

I have no idea what the Lord has in store for me over the next few years. I suspect that whatever it is, it will give me the opportunity to meet many more brave people. I will consider each meeting an honor, and an opportunity to better understand what bravery is. I also may be called upon to show bravery myself. I won't lie, part of me wants the test. Part of me fears it. However is may present itself, I pray that when the time comes, I show the courage and bravery of a woman confronting her attackers, of soldiers walking into enemy territory, of a family confronting evil with unwavering faith, and of my mother, leading her family through her own dark hour.

I also pray that it will not involve spiders. If it does....I am screwed.


Tuffy said...

I'll step on spiders if you want to take care of the snakes in my life.

R.W. Shipshape said...

Everything that you're writing about is world-rattling. But you're right. It makes a difference where we set our eyes.