Hero is a word that gets tossed around a lot these days. Social media and pop culture "news" programing tend to water down the standards for those things that really should have a high level of qualification as they relate to our lives and the society in which we live. But, sometimes a particular set of standards affects the way we see something such as the heroes who pass through our everyday lives. Traditionally, "hero" carries a very high standard of qualification that involves an element of risk and bravery in the face of danger, either physical or in the form of taking a stand for good and right. These days, it seems everyone who finds themselves having been in a difficult situation is deemed a hero if the story is even minimally newsworthy. . . . (not to take away from what anyone has to go through to get through.)
I grew up with my own heroes. Roy Rogers was my first hero. After Roy, there is not one that particularly stands out. Well, John Wayne . . . duh! There were a dozen or so comic book heroes. I actually used to pray for super powers. There were other tv and movie heroes. . . . all people that I aspired to be, but could never be. (Elvis . . . well, he was not so much the hero as the one who always got the good looking girl. Come to think of it, though, I always considered such a move to be one of great personal risk. And that was a risk I was all too rarely brave enough to take.) It's good to have those kinds of people to look up to, those bigger than life personalities that are so appealing. But, I wonder if they obscure and block our recognition of the real true life heroes that not only cross our paths but help us along the way. . . . those standards again.
What makes a hero a hero? There are a lot of definitions to be found, but we all know that there is a moment in time that makes the hero the hero. That is when he or she is at "the right place" at "the right time" and does "the right thing". That's the entertainment version of a hero. It's also the real life making of a hero. In simple terms a hero, or heroine, is a person who is there when they are needed and who does what is needed. . . . Simpler terms: A hero is there when you need them. (and "the needing" is not always obvious at the time.)
You think I've offered up a watered-down version of a hero?
As much as I wanted to ride with Roy . . . shoot, I wanted to BE Roy . . . because that life was fun and adventurous and each story had a happy ending punctuated with a song, it is the true life heroes that made the difference in my real life. There are people who were right there with the words or the deeds that I needed for that moment. And many times, most often actually, that heroic act had little immediate effect on me, but great effect when I needed it most.
Looking back on life, there were acts, kindnesses, words of encouragement, acknowledgement, notice, . . . a rare few stand out in my memory. Some are merely impressions left in the moment, some involve a season of time. One, the second greatest for me, I think, happened when I was 6, maybe 7 years old, and made for a proud moment at the time, but came back to me in my mid-twenties and changed my life. It could have changed my life when it happened. I wish it would have, but that was my failure. Whether it was meant to be a life changer or was just a simple act of kindness, I don't know. As it turned out, it was both . . . both times that I needed it.
I'm not going to reveal the whole thing here. For one thing, I don't want you to measure your experiences, or your heroes, with mine. For another, it's very personal and hard to put into words. I will only say for now that it has to do with a seed of worth.
Again, I don't want to diminish the many heroic deeds of those in our military, law enforcement, fire protection, search and rescue, . . ., and every day people who rose to the occasion when the occasion called for extraordinary courage and action. But, if a hero is one who "saves the day", take a look at your own life. Go back to that moment when something changed, or something was preserved (saved), and see if you find someone who was there, that you may have given little notice to at the time. He, or she, just might be your hero. They might be the one who made the difference. Maybe it seemed a small, near insignificant thing then, but made all the difference at some point in your life. When you find them, you should tell them. They should know.
Of course, all this is really to say that maybe you've been there, maybe you haven't yet, but please don't miss any opportunity to pour yourself into another's life in even the smallest way. It might not be such a small thing after all. God put us here for a purpose, and He puts people into our lives to help us be the person He made us to be. He put YOU here for the same thing. You may never know how a simple act on your part today will change, or maybe even save, another life years from now.
Heroes? Perhaps not by Hollywood's standards, but for all the make believe "people" Roy made me want to be, one caring man with one simple act pretty much told me of the real person I was. . . . and I achieve that from time to time.
Maybe you feel small and insignificant and powerless when it comes to the idea of being anyone's hero. Well, just adapt the attitude of Mighty Mouse. Step out and sing. . . . "Here I come to save the daaaaaaayyyy!" . . . Just like somebody did for you.
PS: A couple of videos for you. One for a little inspiration. One just for fun: