What do Riley Howell, Kendrick Castillo, Joshua Jones, and Brendan Bialy have in common?  They all lunged at school shooters, saving the lives of countless colleagues. Riley Howell and Kendrick Castillo sacrificed their lives to save their classmates. Their spontaneous actions of bravery illustrate the highest values of the human spirit.

 Riley Howell, an R.O.T.C cadet at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, tackled the shooter in a classroom. A few days later, at the Stem School Highlands Ranch in Colorado, Kendrick Castillo, Joshua Jones and Brendan Bialy spontaneously lunged at two shooters. Kendrick died a hero. The next day, Brendan said of Kendrick, “He was a foot away from the shooter and instead of running in the opposite direction he ran toward it.”

Sometimes in a moment of crisis, when every second counts, our deepest values override our fears. I’m sure you have heard of countless stories of people who run toward danger to save a life. In the work that I do in the aftermath of natural disasters, in places like India, Sri Lanka, Chile, Haiti and Colombia, stories emerge of heroes who demonstrate tremendous courage and bravery in moments of chaos and danger.

While many people cringe in fear or run for their lives, these heroes spontaneously reach deep into their soul and connect with something profoundly meaningful. For example, In Sri Lanka, a mother who had lost her entire family in the tsunami heroically transcended her grief by reaching out to children who had lost their parents. She took them in and protected them until they could be re-united with relatives. In spite of the horrible pain she suffered in the loss of her family, she dug deep into her soul and found compassion that manifested in loving and caring for children who had lot their parents. The resilience of the human spirit continues to amaze me.

Stories like these motivated me to write the book, “How to Take Your Spiritual Temperature; 10 Dimensions of Spirituality; from Angst to Joy.” One of the premises of the book is that when we are distressed or broken in one area of our life, we can reach across to other dimensions of our spirituality to find strength, meaning and resilience. It is my intention to share these stories of resilient spirituality with people who may need a boost of inspiration. You can help share the word about this by inviting people to my blog: www.soulrefresh.org 

Thanks for caring. Your actions of compassion are a light in the darkness.

Dale Alan Young