I had the privilege of hearing some stories of great courage this week. These are stories of people who have taken steps that require great strength and courage, most of which will never be celebrated, acknowledged, or even known. Most of these stories do not fit the criteria to get much hype. However, I think that some of the most courageous acts are seemingly the most simple. These stories, these people inspire me with their courage.

I heard one of these stories at our faith community’s weekly gathering. I had first met this man just a week earlier. That night we were exploring “the dangers of hate.” I noticed that he was not enjoying himself. The angry expression on his face and body language made that very clear! We had given everyone a rock that night on the way in the room. At the end of the night we invited everyone to place their rock on the stage as a symbol of letting go of their hate for a person or group. I clarified that there was no pressure to do it that night, but challenged them to always keep the rock with them until they were willing to honestly let go of the hate. This man stayed seated with his head down. After this week after the gathering, this man looked me in the eyes and handed me the rock. He said that he was finally letting go of some hate that he had carried with him for a very long time. I am not a good enough writer to describe how his eyes danced as he talked about this, I am not sure that anyone’s word’s could capture the freedom and joy that I saw in his eyes. It was an unbelievable change. It took an amazing about of courage. Courage to be honest. Courage to resist playing the game. Courage to let go of something that had become his. Courage to change.

This story will not make the local paper. It will certainly not get covered by a 24 hour news channel. However, I believe that this is the kind of courageous action that changes the world. The healing of the world sounds a lot like a the pipe dream of a naive idealist, but the journey there is full of gritty real life sacrifice, determination and courage. I am deeply inspired by this, and other acts of courageous honesty and change in our community. You help inspire me to be more courageous in my journey.