Dictionary.com defines a hero as “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.”
Heroes aren’t just men . . . or women. Police dogs and service dogs, for example, are heroic. Actually, there are examples of heroism—courage, brave deeds, and/or noble qualities—in all walks of life.
My dad once told me of a man he greatly admired but refused to offer a book. The reason? The man couldn’t read. He was heroic and admirable and no one should insult him by offering him something that required a skill he had not acquired. I thought in that situation, there were two heroes: the man and my dad for considering the man’s dignity.
All around us are acts of heroism. A woman at the ballpark yesterday lifted a little one who couldn’t reach to get a drink from a water fountain. To the thirsty, one who assists in getting a drink is performing a noble, heroic act. Noticing that one needs help and helping without fanfare or even being asked—that’s heroic.
In one way or another, we’re all thirsty.
After a long illness, last night, the husband of a dear friend passed away. For two years I’ve watched her struggle with him, fight for him to get him the care he needed, to keep his spirits up, to do all that needed doing both for him and for her family. To me, her face is the face of a hero.
And as I focus on these things, I recall many who have been my heroes. The list was far longer than I expected it to be when I sat down to weigh the matter. There’s a hidden blessing in thinking about all your heroes. You feel grateful for them and to them, of course, but you’re also grateful that they saw something in you they felt was valuable enough to sacrifice something they didn’t have to sacrifice on your behalf. Their acts are proof of your worth in their eyes.
I wonder how many people miss that. It begs two questions:
1. In whose face do you look and see a hero?
2. When others look in your face, what do they see?
Weighty questions. But questions whose answers bear lasting treasures.