Have courage..!

THIS happened many years ago, with my former dog: It was one of the most embarrassing situations I had been in, in a long time: My dog running at breakneck speed with her tail between her legs; chased by a dog half her size!
“Come back!” I yelled at her, but this was one time she was deaf to my entreaties. “Coward!” I yelled and heard a dozen sniggers from others who were watching the event in the neighbourhood where I lived. They were the same people who had marveled at the way the same dog had been trained and disciplined by me.
“How well your dog walks right next to you,” they said every day as my huge German Shepherd ambled at my heel. “Sit!” I used to yell at her and watched with pride as she sat with not a moment’s hesitation. Now I watched the same people look at my huge canine running as if ten tigers, a lion and an elephant, you can add a dinosaur also, were behind her. She didn’t even bother to look back and see whether her master was still alive, she was much too concerned saving herself from the little whelp chasing her.
“You can discipline a dog but you can’t put courage into it,” I thought and walked back home disgusted and disappointed. “You can teach a soldier to fight, but you can’t teach him to be brave” an uncle of mine who had retired from the army had once told me. He had passed away many moons ago, I nodded at him wherever he was, “How true dear uncle,” I said, as I saw my dog already inside my home cowering in a corner. I wondered what it was that made people truly courageous in the face of danger and I remembered the police found it hard to believe how an unarmed woman captured three burglars single handedly.
The woman had come home and found three men loading her household items into their car parked in her driveway. She parked her own car behind theirs and then ordered the men to carry her belongings back into the house and sit on the couch until the police arrived. Later when asked why they didn’t escape, she replied, “The Lord was with me, so I wasn’t going to move my car so they could get away..!” Sometimes stories of courage don’t have such happy endings as that of twenty six people who were killed because they refused to step on a picture of their Lord: In the seventeenth century some Christians were faithfully serving on an island in Japan. A provincial leader called a shogun, decided that these people were a threat to the traditional culture, so he devised a fiendish trap. He placed a picture of Jesus on the street and demanded that they step on it in renunciation of their faith. When the test was finished, twenty-six people had refused. They were killed at the water’s edge for all to see..!
Courage doesn’t mean not being afraid. I am sure each one of those twenty-six people were petrified. Courage meant standing up to their convictions. Today as I look at my country and hear big talks about Modi, I picture my dog running away from another half her size; when all she had to do was to stand and fight..! Have courage..!

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