In a crisis, we discover powers inside ourselves, powers that have laid dormant, secret reserves of ability, only waiting for the occasion to leap forth. Human beings have the "X" factor. The "X" factor is an unknown quantity, it is found within the known universe, but you cannot measure the force.
A small woman normally could not pick up a fifty pound sack of potatoes. If that small woman needs to save her child, she will pick up the bumper of a car, and pull her child out from under it. Yet five minutes earlier, that same woman could not pick up the car.
A frightened boy can leap a six foot high fence --- when a bull is charging. Yet five minutes later, that boy could not clear the top rail of the fence.
In 1944, Audie Murphy picked up a 50 caliber machine gun and began firing at the advancing Germans. A 50 caliber machine gun is usually bolted on an airplane or a large truck. A 240 pound man might shoot one round, but not with a this type of machine gun, because the recoil is too great. After firing for an hour, Murphy had killed or wounded 50 Germans. He sustained a leg wound during his stand, and stopped only after he ran out of ammunition.
The one thing nobody knows is what causes the "X" factor --- or why we can do these things in a crisis. I never would have believed John Wayne could sing. I didn’t believe John Wayne would even try singing. Singing just didn’t fit with the John Wayne persona. When he sang on Live America, I was astonished. http://www.symbiosis4u.us/MP4/JohnWayne-LiveAmerica.html (2 minutes)
These men and women do not know what they can do. They only know that when the thing is to be done --- possible or impossible --- safe or deadly --- there is some strength that surges in them that allows them to rally to the task. Panic only calms them, clears their brain, and steadies their hand, while other men run for the hills.
When President Abraham Lincoln spoke of the soldiers who died at Gettysburg he said, we cannot bestow any higher honor on them than the highest honor already earned through their courageous actions. Listen to a 2 minute audio of an actor reading Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. 1863GettysburgAddress.mp3 These men were the salt of the race.
Charles Chaplin was not a soldier, or a president. He was a comedian. Yet, he created one of the best speeches I have ever heard. When he wrote the speech (in 1940), Hitler had captured Austria and Poland and the Dutch, and moved toward France. In less than five minutes, Chaplin went from addressing mankind’s failings; to a call to action echoing with an earth shattering crescendo … (you will have to see the video).
Be happy, healthy, wise, and abundance of the Fourth of July,
Tom Van Drielen
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