20 Seconds of Courage: The Aurora Three

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It has always amazed me how our lives can turn on width of a dime. How fleeting moments can alter our paths, and our fates. In less than a second your facial expression can give someone the wrong idea (or the right one). In just a few words a heart can be lightened, a joyful experience shared. In this world, where lives are changed in the time it takes for a butterfly to flap its wings, what then is the potential impact of a single act of courage?

We're all already aware of the events that unfolded in Aurora, Colorado the night of July 20th, and while those events have given us many reasons to mourn, in them we can also find things to celebrate. Jon Blunk, Alex Teves and Matt McQuinn all reacted to the sounds of gunfire in that crowded theater, covering their girlfriend's bodies with their own, each absorbing fatal wounds, and protecting the lives of the ones they loved. All three women survived, a testament to the courage of these young men, and their split second decisions. It's often been said that courage is not the absence of fear, it is action in the face of it. I have no doubt that those men felt fear, but they stayed their courses, reaffirming with each passing moment the breadth of their courage.

In that twenty seconds of courage, as they each crouched over the women they loved, refusing to run, refusing to save themselves, they showed a commitment to a set of values... values that deserve to be shared and celebrated. Because of the actions of Jon, Alex and Matt, three fathers got to hug their living daughters, and three women's lives will be forever changed.

Octavia Butler wrote, "Everything we touch we change, everything we change changes us." We can all take a page from the example set by these extraordinary young heroes, and strive in our everyday lives to be conduits for change, simply by living our values, and committing to courage in our beliefs. Courage doesn't have to be about taking a bullet for someone you love, or standing up to a bully. It can be as simple as smiling at a stranger on the subway, or helping to lighten a co-worker's load. Have the courage to spread joy, to celebrate life, and change the world you live in into a happier place, one act at a time.

About the Author

Lindsay Brunner


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