What is courage? I’ve been reading the book March by Geraldine Brooks. It is set during the civil war, and is about Mr. March (from Little Women) when he is involved in the war. Although it is historical fiction, the author provides some interesting insights as to what life must have been like for liberated slaves during and just after the war (basically…not good)
Anyway, I came across a quote in this story that really made me think…not only about the civil war, but about our country’s involvement (and really…our instigating) of the current wars in the middle east. We frame our position and our justification for war around “freedom”….but is this really true? Is it worth it?
Here is the quote (The quote speaks only of men for obvious reasons, but I think it can be applied to both men and women):
Who is the brave man – he who feels no fear? If so, then bravery is but a polite term for a mind devoid of rationality and imagination. The brave man, the real hero, quakes with terror, sweats, feels his very bowels betray him, and in spite of this moves forward to do the act he dreads. And yet I do not think it heroic to march into fields of fire, whipped on one’s way only by fear of being called craven. Sometimes, true courage requires inaction; that one sit at home while war rages, if by doing so one satisfies the quiet voice of honorable conscience.
In Concord, because of our work in the Underground Railroad, we had come to know many who fit the latter description. Mostly they were Quakers, whose abolitionism and pacifism sprang from the selfsame core belief: there is that of God in every person, and therefore you may not enslave any man, and neither may you kill him, even to liberate the enslaved.
Like I said, it made me think both about wars of the past, and the wars of today. Let us not forget that God loves every human. What does that mean for us?