One of the bravest people I’ve ever seen was a 10-year-old boy whose lower legs had been blown off by a roadside bomb. Despite the massive trauma to his body, he was calm and didn’t cry once as our team rushed to stop the bleeding and stabilize him for transport. A large part of his serenity was probably due to the shock of the injury. However, I have also seen adult men in similar conditions who writhed in agony or cried out in pain. Something in that young boy gave him enough courage to accept whatever fate had given him, and to allow that fate to run its course without fear.
Fear is a constant presence to those of us in conflict. We may push it aside and try to ignore it, but that will only make the shock all the greater when we are forced to confront it at the worst times. There are many times when I’ve been reminded of that young boy, and I’ve had to realize that similarly, there is only so much I can do to change the course of life around me. The worst I can do is stand numbly in shock, but in those moments, I have been fortunate in that there was something pushing me on, and keeping me focused on my mission. In the end, all I could do was face that fear, and drive on through it, knowing that it was not my self, but something greater than myself that mattered.
Mercy is a Virtue»