So, What Makes a Hero?

25 11 2013

I remember a few years back there was a young woman that the press heralded as a hero for this incredible feat that she Tom and Carmenwas credited for performing.  Her story and picture was splashed all over the media in the days that followed which was wonderful,  I think it’s great when we have someone to admire for what they did or what they stood for in the face of adversity.  There was only one problem; the story was complete fabrication, not by this gal, but by some PR people who thought the country, at that time, needed a story of heroism whether it was embellished or not.  As a matter of fact, it was the young lady who stepped forward to say it wasn’t true, which personally made her a bigger hero to me than what the overzealous press releases did.

Now I tell this not to stir up debate on how much we should trust what we read in the news (of course it never hurts to check certain things out more once in a while), but more to explore a subject that’s been on my mind recently and that is just what makes someone a hero?  I’ve looked at the usual definitions and descriptions which I have no problems with (for the most part) and found that I just wasn’t in total agreement with what I read. The usual meaning given reads something like this, “A person who is greatly admired for great or brave acts and fine qualities.”  I suppose that’s a fair assessment, but in my rather off the wall thought process I just don’t feel those mentioned qualities go far enough to define the term “hero.”  So often when we think of a hero we come up with names of well known individuals who performed great achievements that the world gets opportunity to learn about.  Again, I can agree with these folks being labeled as heroes (for the most part), but I still believe there are many, many more the world will never hear of whose achievements are every bit as important and in some ways even more than the ones we come to know.   For the rest of this story I want to introduce several folks, along with their accomplishments and why I see them as heroes.

There was this woman I knew who had a number of things going against her in life.  She suffered from physical, emotional and mental shortcomings.  She once met a man who she thought was going to be her knight in shining armor.  Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and he left after only a few weeks, but not before leaving her pregnant.  She was urged by many to give up the baby saying it would be the best thing to do.  But she was determined that child, her child would be raised by her to the best she could.  She spent a major part of her life pouring everything she could into that youngster, working long toiling hours at a job that wore her body down as well as sacrificing much to see that this gift of God (as she saw him) would have a better start to life than she did.  When she was called home to Heaven, she left a son who never forgot all she did and all she was to him, the greatest mom any boy could ever have.  Three generations of her descendants all feel the same way.  (I’m sure you’ve figured it out that this woman, this hero was my very own mother.)

I once had a Sunday school teacher by the name of Billie.  She had a thick southern accent which made me like her immediately seeing how my own roots run through West   Virginia, but that wasn’t the main reason I liked this southern gal.  Billie had an almost magical way about her; you just couldn’t feel anything but happiness when you were around her.  A person having the worst day of their life would come away with spirits raised by the way this dear saint showed concern for them, and almost always with a smile on the face and laughter that was healing to the soul.  Billie lived a full life, but to all whose lives she touched it was way too soon.  This hero gave to many what I describe as her 3 H’s: “Hope, Happiness, Herself.”

The soldier you see receiving the big hug is a gentleman named Tom, and the girl is his daughter, Carmen.  As you probably perceived, Tom had just returned home from active duty (Operation Desert Storm, I believe) and his precious angel could not, (nor would have wanted to), harness the emotions of seeing her dad return home from war, not to downplay the happy reunion after deployment, but something just tells me Tom would have had a greeting similar no matter what he was returning from.  You see Tom’s and my paths have only crossed a few times in our lives, but everything I know of him places him high on my list of ones I call Men of Honor.  From the time I met this soft spoken man, I had a hunch there was something special about him.  That’s been proven to me by the dedication, love and example to his wonderful family.  Some men feel this sense to have what I call a “macho persona.”  But take a person like Tom, well he doesn’t need that. He, I believe, has shown true manhood with gentleness, kindness and complete love and devotion to the most important people in his life–his Lady, his son, his daughter, and three of the cutest granddaughters you’ll ever see!  I’m convinced the hug and tears you see flowing from Tom’s beloved Carmen are a representation of how his whole family felt that day he returned from deployment; the greatest hero and the strongest man that God could have placed in their lives was now back with them.  Awesome!!!

My last example is a kid I knew from high-school days.  I liked him, but he had one bad habit, he was always talking religion to me.  And no matter how many times I told him to stop, or how aggravated I got with him he just wouldn’t give it a rest!  Through a series of events too long to go into I came to realize he wasn’t pushing a religion at all, he was offering me something more, a Savior, Christ Jesus my Lord.  This wasn’t someone who was fanatical about his beliefs; this was a Brother who was so concerned about me to the point that he was not going to give up telling about two things I needed, the love of a Father, and eternal life through a Redeemer!  Where ever you are today Bric, know that you are still my Brother, and my Hero!

To wrap this up, I’ll make my final point; any and all have abilities and opportunities to be heroes.  Maybe not on a world stage for all to see, maybe not so great that it brings you accolades from millions everywhere; but you have what it takes to touch someone’s life in a positive manner, in a way that makes them see you like nobody else will; that makes you their forever hero.  As I say often, never forget how special you are to God and to others when you give of yourself.

Of course I must confess that I do have one HERO that many have heard of and know personally.  If you would like to know my Hero personally there’s a book that’s been around for a long time that tells all about Him.  A good place to start knowing Him, and his love comes for John 3:16.  Nuff said!

Thanks for reading and Blessings to you and your loved ones!!!


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