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 Ring The bells

In 1799, when the armies of Napoleon were sweeping over Europe, Massena's army of 18,000 suddenly appeared on the heights above the Austrian town of Feldkirch.  It was Easter Sunday and the rising sun glittered on the weapons of the French army as they overlooked the village below.

A hasty town council meeting was called to decide what could be done. Resisting such an army was out of the question.  Finally, the dean of St. Stephen’s Church arose and said, "It is Easter Day. Ring the bells and have services as usual, and leave the matter in God's hands."  They agreed to do as he suggested and, from the towers of Feldkirch there rang out loud and joyous peals calling worshippers to gather.

The French heard the sudden clanging of the bells with surprise and alarm.  They concluded that the Austrian army had arrived to defend the town. Massena broke up his camp, gave the order to march and, before the bells had ceased tolling, not a soldier was to be seen.

In the midst of fear and in the presence of danger, ringing the bells may be the most courageous act we can perform.  For buried deep in courage we find the core serenity that allows us to accept what we cannot change.

Courage is not the absence of danger but the decision to go ahead despite the danger.  To live. To ring the bells.