My startle reflex is very high. DO NOT sneak up behind me to give me a little scare! It will not end well---for either of us. My response will range from a little squeal to a big jump with arms flying around like blades on a windmill.
OF COURSE, I have analyzed why my reaction can be so severe. It goes back to my childhood--most things do--just ask a therapist. My brother and cousins delighted in scaring me half out of my wits. The scare techniques grew and keeping my wits about me became a huge struggle. If you EVER showed one glimmer of fear, they were on your trail.
This week we saw yet another--as of yet-unexplained, mass shooting. What must it have felt like to have been in that store. One minute you are perusing the cookie selection and the next you are running for your life. I think we all can agree it is human nature, at a minimum, to turn away from danger. I cannot count the times, I have turned and begun to high tail it (you do know where that saying comes from?) without even thinking. Your mind alarm starts blaring-
DANGER DANGER DANGER DANGER
and your body goes into action without hesitation. It is a basic instinct to flee from danger.
Then there is the policeman, who not only does not flee, but runs toward the danger. Shots are fired-you know the damage a gunshot can cause--and you still run toward the sound---NOT AWAY. I have also read reports this week of Kroger, who owns this grocery chain, praising their employees who helped customers flee the danger through hidden back exits. They did not just turn and run--they first helped those around them to flee the danger.
Stories of heroism always give us renewed faith in humanity. At times, we are bombarded by the selfish dog eat dog world we live in. The sense of fair play seems to have been thrown out the door as some scratch their way to the top of the heap. If you doubt what I say, think about the last time you were on the highway and for miles you were warned of a closed lane ahead. Still, there are always those who refuse to get in line and instead barrel their way forward to bully their way into the front of the line. I hate to tell you, I do not respond well to this bullying tactic. If you try to cut in front of me, you are in for a rude awakening from the seemingly little old lady. (I'M OFF TRACK-sorry)
What would cause someone to risk their own life, to help a total stranger? It is one thing to protect our loved ones, but the person you have never seen, don't know from Joe Blow down the street, why would you risk your own life to help them? I always think of 9-11 and the scores who stepped forward to help others as those buildings imploded; Dunkirk where civilian boats risked being blown to pieces to save those soldiers trapped on the beach; and countless other examples of mankind stepping forward to save a life knowing it would place them in danger.
Personally I believe, God has placed that love and concern for our fellow man in our hearts. Even those who do not know and acknowledge God, understand the blessing of life. There is a kinship among mankind. We may be very different, but we still have certain basic qualities which are common to all man. It is not unlike family--we don't always "like" our family members, but we love them because of our connections. We are all connected--in more ways than we could imagine. We may not all be brave enough to run toward danger to save another, but we are all brave enough to take the hand of the person next to us and lead them away from the danger. Let that statement sink in---and think about the danger others might be in. I am so thankful for those who serve to protect us, but I also am thankful for my brothers and sisters who take my hand and lead me from danger.
"Let each of us look not only to his own interests,
but also to the interest of others."