We have all experienced it in our lives, or will experience it in our lives. It is an inevitable aspect of the human condition. Sadly, there are only two choices when it comes to tragedy – we can either work through it, or let it destroy us. Tragedy is unavoidable. Tragedy is something we must accept.

What I will not accept, however, is complacency, tragedy that can be avoided through action instead of inaction, tragedy that can be avoided by embracing a sense of something beyond self – that we are not the be all and end all of our universe. Whatever it is we are doing at any given moment is ultimately insignificant compared to the life of another.

Each of us is of the utmost value. In most cases, there is someone beyond the victim affected by tragedy. Those left behind. Never forget this.

As someone who has both experienced tragedy, and taken action to prevent tragedy for others, I feel compelled to write this today. Never be too busy to stop and help. Never push the responsibility off to the next good willed passer-by.

We all like to think we would help in a situation. We all like to believe that we would rise to the occasion, that our greatness would shine forth and we would be the hero, if but for a moment. The reality is often different, and disappointing, but rather than be consumed with guilt, we arm ourselves with apathy. We simply stop caring. It is a dangerous attitude.

I am thankful to the person that many years ago prevented a tragedy from ending my life. I pay it forward any chance I get. No, that doesn’t make me a hero. It makes me a human being, one that understands there really is no choice in a tragic situation. We must act. If not us, who will?

Consider it carefully. If you were in a life and death situation, would you not pray for someone to assist you? Would you be ok with people just passing you by because their lives are obviously more important than yours? What about your son’s life? Your daughter’s? Your mother’s? Any loved one that comes to mind should get the point across.

Take action. Be proactive. Change lives.

Don’t do it for any glory, as most heroes remain unsung, and if you ask them about it, they probably prefer to remain anonymous, as tragedy avoided can be traumatic as well. Trembling, adrenaline crash, emotional response – the human body and spirit can only take so much. This is what true heroism is. It is the understanding that helping another is the only option, regardless of personal cost, risk or inconvenience. There is no hesitation, no choice to be made. There is only doing what is right.

Be the hero to others that you would want to be there for you.

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