I admit, I immediately think of the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz. And then my Musical Tourette's syndrome kicks in, and I start singing, "If I were king of the forrrrrest!!"
But seriously, the cowardly lion is not the epitome of courage. He even has the word cowardly in his name, for crying (or roaring) out loud! Instead, there is a whole group of people that comes to mind when I think about courage.
I'm thinking about the men and women who are willing to sacrifice their own lives to defend their country, specifically U.S. soldiers.
Last week at VBS, a lieutenant named Emily Armstrong spoke to the older kids about what it was like to be fighting in Iraq. The kids were preparing to send care packages and letters to soldiers, and it was good for them to learn more about the sacrifices that war causes some people to make.
It was also good for me to learn first-hand about life for the troops in Iraq, and I couldn't help but try to put myself in their shoes. (I mean boots.) And believe me, it was a scary thought! I can't imagine there being anything fun about being in Iraq -- in extremely hot weather, weighed down in protective gear that makes it even hotter, eating "food" you don't enjoy at all, being away from family, and knowing that you may not live to see them again.
Talk about bravery! Listening to Lt. Armstrong speak about the awful conditions in Iraq really put things into perspective for me. Many of the soldiers fighting are my age! It's hard for me to imagine the kind of courage they have.
People think I'm brave for moving to Japan. No, I'm not the brave one. I'm not putting my life on the line. Although I'm leaving my family for a year or two, that's about the only similarity there is between what I'm doing and what soldiers do.
I've been praying for the U.S. troops for a long time now. Two years ago, I adopted a soldier in Iraq through Soldiers Angels who I send letters and packages to. It's the least we can do for these brave men and women. Hopefully very soon they will all come home, back to their families and friends.