"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." (John 15:13-15)
We are told by God that laying down your life for your friend is the greatest love. There are many heroic and virtuous examples through time - military personnel, firefighters and law enforcement sacrificing their lives to save and protect others. Images of soldiers and Marines jumping on grenades and firefighters running into burning buildings come to mind, but there are also other not-so-obvious examples that are rarely mentioned -sacrifices made by parents for their children and children for their parents; husbands for wives and wives for husbands; and the most powerful examples - strangers for other strangers.
And I'm not just talking about taking a bullet for someone, like the Secret Service pledge they will, for the President. It is no less glorious or valiant for parents to "lay down their lives" by devoting their lives and livelihoods to giving their children the greatest opportunities to succeed; or a son or daughter taking on the responsibility of caring for a parent or grandparent. How about a husband or wife that works so that the other can attend college or build a business? Is that not also "laying down one's life?"
Then there are the very special few - the strangers - you know, the people that volunteer their time - for no money, or fame, or glory, or awards, or trophies - to care for other strangers. Not just contributing to a charity, but contributing the most vital thing any human being can - their time.
I have been honored to know a few people that have laid down their lives for me - teachers and mentors that have devoted their lives to guiding and informing; ministers that remain at the ready to council; coaches that go above and beyond to see that their players have all they need, not just to compete in sport, but in life.
They call us friends.
And I consider them all heroes.
When I thought about what my new novel, PROJECT 111 is really about ... I could say it's about sacrifice, loyalty, honor ... but what I think it's really about is ... friendship.
Cris De Niro cares for all the people he employs. He considers them more than employees. He considers them friends, and he proves his friendship in PROJECT 111 by laying his life down for one, in particular.
I hope you'll consider reading it and when you do, maybe you'll think of people that you know that lay their lives down for others, or for you. (You can find PROJECT 111 here)
By the way, I consider everyone that takes the time and spends the money to read my books ... my friends. I'm very grateful.