Thursday, February 14, 2019

Living Beyond the Point of No Return

I watched an inspiring video about a Medal of Honor recipient from World War II. The recipient of the medal was a pilot leading a squadron of aircraft sent to protect bombers in route to a bombing mission. The distance they had to fly was at the limit of their fuel capacity. As they approached the point of no return it was obvious they had used more fuel than anticipated. The squadron turned back, but the leader pressed on. While dropping his payload of bombs, a dogfight with enemy aircraft ensued. The pilot shot down 5 enemy aircraft. He had to bail out after being hit and having no remaining fuel. After parachuting into the ocean he swam 8 miles to an island where he was eventually rescued.

During the after incident interview the pilot said he could not have lived with himself had he turned around and aborted his mission. He would rather die honoring his commitment than spend the rest of his life regretting his decision.

In each of our lives, there will be a point of no return where we will have a choice to turn around or press through our difficulty toward an uncertain future. This is the place where heroes are born. It is not only true in warfare, but it can also be true for a spouse who commits to remain in a challenging marriage just a little longer. It can be true for a small businessperson who puts it all on the line to survive or when a friend risks a friendship by telling a hard truth to a friend.

Like the WWII Medal of Honor recipient, each of us will have to live with the unknown consequences of the tough decisions we make at the point of no return. We will carry either a sorrow that comes from giving up too early or a sense of honor that only comes when we press on when life required of us the kind of courage we thought impossible before we made our decision. Heroes in any walk of life are those who wanted to turn around but kept flying no matter what the odds because aborting the mission was not something they could live with.

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