Monday, December 31, 2012

Wanted: A Hero

"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

What makes someone a "hero"?

That question floated into my head this afternoon, and has been peskily bobbing around my mind until I finally sat down and decided to give it some thought.  Not what I would've planned to write about for my final blog of the year, but it seemed timely... more on that, perhaps, later.

Contrary to what we learn as little kids, watching the Saturday cartoons, heroes don't come from another planet.  They don't wear really cool costumes, or carry fancy weapons or tool belts, or have super secret hideouts.  They aren't summoned by special "Bat-phones", beacons, whistles, or calls.

The heroes in the real world, yesterday, today, and always, have been real people.  Just like you and I.  No better, no worse.  Perhaps indistinguishable from all the rest of us, until that one moment.  The moment when darkness descends.  When someone's suffering is seen.  When hope and endurance seem to fade.   When the moment calls for action.

In moments like this, big and small, heroes appear in our lives.  And what makes them heroic is their willingness to express four timeless characteristics; to be willing to "be" these things in the moment of crisis, instead of "being themselves".

1.  A Hero is Bold.

"A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for." (William G.T. Shedd)

  • They act when others hesitate.  They step forward instead of stepping back.  They say "I can" or "I'll try" instead of "I can't" or "Don't ask me".  A hero grabs your hand and says "Follow me", instead of whispering "I'll go, if you go".
2.  A Hero is Courageous.

"One man with courage makes a majority." (Andrew Jackson)
  • They aren't afraid to act alone.  They're willing, in the moment that it's needed, to stand for what they know is true, despite the odds, and not knowing their chances of success.  They act despite the fact that they themselves are scared in that moment too.  But they decide that there's something more important to them in that moment than what fear is offering them.  
3.  A Hero is Determined.

"...Hold on; hold fast; hold out.  Patience is genius." (Georges Louis LeClerc)
  • They persist.  They are patient.  They have stamina.  They are optimistic and are willing do whatever it takes to accomplish their goal.  They don't take "No" for an answer.  Their faith is not something that is a belief; a wish.  It is a true understanding, born of the humble knowing that there is something greater than them that they're willing to serve.
4.  A Hero is Altruistic

"A fellow who does things that count, doesn't usually stop to count them." (Albert Einstein)
  • In being willing to do all of the above, the hero agrees to make a sacrifice; to do what's best for another before doing what's best for themselves.  They are generous.  They are kind.  They give their best without seeking reward or recognition, usually saying "You would have done the same for me".
Some say the world today needs more heroes.  But that leaves the world wondering where they'll come from; merely hoping one might magically appear.  And being disappointed when they don't.

I say the world needs more people to act heroically.  To find the small moments, as well as in crises, to be the expression of one of these characteristics.  It doesn't take any great strength or ability.  It doesn't require a thought or a plan.  It simply requires a single act.  Stepping towards someone instead of away.  Remembering that we are one, not separate.  A hero isn't something you become; it's something you do.  It's something anyone can do.

So why am I thinking so much about heroes today?  Well, today I needed a hero.  I faced an unknown pain today and needed help.  For once, the one who thought he was strong and the protector needed strength and assistance.  And lucky for him, a hero stepped forward.
  • Someone who acted boldly and said "I'll take you wherever you need to go."
  • Someone who was courageous; who time and again did what needed to be done despite being scared
  • Someone who was determined; a real warrior in pushing on until an answer was found.
  • Someone who made a sacrifice, saying "You do the same for me all the time"
Who was my hero?

My hero today
I'm lucky to be married to a super woman.

Thank you, Sweetie.  Thank you for helping me and being both my "help-mate" as well as my soulmate.  You are my greatest Pearl.

No comments:

Post a Comment