How do we give this gift? Well, giving the Gift of Self requires that one be mindful, compassionate, and willing to risk. Giving of Self can be dangerous. Your heart can be broken; you make be ridiculed and you may even feel like a fool. BUT! The reward - the mitzpah returned - is worth the risk.
There are many who give of themselves, daily. They are the women and men who put their entire lives on the line for their communities, countries and the world.
I offer prayers, daily, for military members, as well as the fire, police and rescue people. Often, unsung heroes, these members of our society risk their lives daily to keep us safe, free from harm and disaster.
Our media can sometimes concentrate too heavily on the bad behaviors of people, causing the rest of us to think that everyone is like the people portrayed on the news or in the papers/magazines. This is stereotyping, which is something the media should not be doing, but does, nonetheless. Truth is, the good far out-weighs the bad.
Among those who give of themselves to save the lives of others are the doctors, nurses and rescue workers, who are among those who appear at a disaster before others. Many times, they come before it is truly safe to do so, risking life and limb to pull someone from the rubble or administer emergency care in precarious places. They do not stop to ask what color the person is they are saving, or what religion, political beliefs or sexual persuasion they may have. All they see is a person in need of immediate and emergent care.
Recently, the dedication of a team of doctors was condemned by the government in which they live, because they administered care to protesters during a recent uprising. Now, these doctors are being treated like criminals. They have been pulled from their homes, put on trial and sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison! All this, because they stopped the bleeding of someone shot by the military in a protest against the government or set the broken bones of someone beaten by the police.
Doctors in Bahrain Triaging an Injured ProtesterThese horrendous trials are happening now in Bahrain. You can read about it here on the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)website.
PHR adheres to the Principles of Medical Neutrality. "Warring factions must protect civilians; allow sick and wounded civilians and soldiers both to receive care regardless of their political affiliations; and refrain from interfering with medical facilities, transport, and personnel. This is medical neutrality."
Giving of Self, as I said before, can be dangerous. We could be walking into a situation that endangers our own life, but, when we are truly connected to the world, what matters is trying to help others, not what will happen to us. These doctors didn't stop to ask the politics of the people being brought into the emergency room. They simply saw someone in pain and did what they needed to do to help them.
Like other rescue workers, in the moment they are asked to help, they automatically begin assessing the situation, utilizing all their training to key into what must be done immediately to save a life. Condemning their actions is a sad commentary and against all that medical science stands for in the world.
As we enter 2012, let us join in prayer to thank those who have given of themselves in the past, often forfeiting their lives in the process. Let us pray for those still in occupations where service to others places them in harm's way. Let us pray that governments will be enlightened to see that human rights must be adhered to if we are ever to find peace in the world.
May the New Year bring us all closer to the reality of Love, Peace and Joy for all.
Here are some more stories of the Unsung Heroes among us: