Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We are all a hero to someone

In real life, no one ever sets out to become a hero. Certainly, the world is filled with men and women who could be described as heroic. But, no one ever says to themselves, “that’s what I want to be!”

Comic books and movies teach us that heroism arises from great acts of gallantry, daring feats of strength that can change the world. Needless to say, real life heroism seldom resembles this mythology. The caped and masked figures that populate our fantasies are, if nothing else, merely indicative of the feelings that heroes inspire within us.

Heroes make us feel good about ourselves. They make us believe in the power of the human spirit to overcome the greatest of obstacles. We revere and admire heroes, and rightfully so: they do what takes courage. Strength, both physical and metaphysical-spiritual, becomes a sought-after trait.

Anyone can be a hero. Our communities are filled with people who are doing extraordinary things with their lives. We don’t read books about them and we don’t see them in the news. Their acts come from a place of pure selflessness. They are not doing things to become famous or to make money; they don’t seek attention.

Prior to writing this, I asked some of my friends who they consider to be their heroes. The responses I got were quite telling: mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and grandparents. Next-door neighbors, priests, military men and women, teachers, coaches, students, firefighters, and police officers. Ordinary people. These are the real life heroes we look up to.

What do we see in these people that’s worth admiring? I submit that it is altruism. It’s the willingness to do good for others and for society despite personal hardship or pain. These people make a difference in the world with their small, but powerful acts of kindness, mercy, and compassion. They make us see the good in humanity and they inspire hope for a better tomorrow.

On January 18, 2011, my friend and personal hero, Balei Chinski, passed away from a burst brain aneurysm. She was in a coma for five days. She spent 47 days in ICU and had 5 brain operations. She was only 16 years-old. But, Balei will never be forgotten. Those who knew her and who heard her story were empowered by her courage in the face of suffering and death. Her strength could move mountains.

Take the time to look around and acknowledge the heroes around you. They are out there. And they are changing your world. Take an interest in their stories. Listen to their motivations. You may just be inspired to head out and perform your own act of goodwill for the betterment of society.

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