Wednesday, December 7, 2011
What Makes A Hero?
The other day I was chatting with a friend and he told me that he felt I put him on a pedestal and thought of him as a hero and that this made him feel uncomfortable. He added that long as I thought of him as a hero that we could never really be friends that he wanted me to think of him as an equal. I told him we could compromise on this. What I really should have explained was how I define a hero. Super heroes to me aren’t really heroes. While they are fictional, the concept is that they have these extra abilities that allow them to do all kinds of cool stuff like fly or bend things with their minds. For me the definition of a hero is a normal person who uses the abilities they have, the talents they have to do extraordinary things. Super heroes are just using the abilities they have to do things they should be able to do by virtue of their powers. Is this really that spectacular? For me a hero is someone who falls down and gets back up. It's someone who knows what is right and does it. It's someone who may make a mistake and realize that their actions hurt someone and apologizes, not for the sake of repenting of their deed with God, but in making it better with the person they hurt. This will make it right with God, but the intention is selfless and not motivated by a desire to fix things for themselves. A hero is that person who stands up for what is right when it seems like it’s not the PC or the accepted thing to do. He's the guy who may not show up on time to speak in Sacrament meeting but if he doesn’t it’s because he stopped to help someone change a tire on the way to church. They may not be perfect but they understand that perfection isn't about a state but a process, it’s about becoming complete and they are trying. They may not be able to recite scripture word-for-word but their lives are an example of the Gospel in action. A hero to me is someone who may not write a book, who may not ever grace the cover of a fashion magazine or look good in their jeans or whatever. But they are an example and a reflection of what they believe. They may be the last to finish the race, but they didn't give up. They may fall down on their climb to the top and sometimes they may have to stop and sit for a while, and ponder if they really do want to keep climbing, but they do eventually get back up and look down only to see how far they have made it. They may not always spell everything correct. Their ties don’t always match their shirt. Their hair may not always have product in it. They may have bad breath. They may not even be able to lift their own body weight. Heroes for me are the ones who realize that sometimes holding on to the Iron Rod is possible only if they are holding and supporting someone who is also doing this. They aren't afraid to hold on tight to someone else while they cling desperately with their other hand. They don't give up on people, they forgive; try to see the best and the potential in someone and they love like Christ would. Heroes don't stand on their pedestals, they get off them and they do something extraordinary with what they have. That is what makes the ordinary extraordinary.