14 July 2015
I fell in love with a guy when I was 18. In the forty years since, that love has wobbled and wavered, been tested in a 1,000 different ways, and felt as if it has broken apart completely at various times, breaking me apart along with it. I’ve survived. Our marriage has thrived.
Because I’ve seen my husband’s courage in reaching out in spite of his wounds. Because of me hitting rock bottom only to realize there was still more that I needed to give. Because of big and small acts of courage.
I think most of us are valiant and determined with our caring.
Hero— a person who,in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, displays courage or self-sacrifice for some greater good. ~ Wiki
Acts of heroism are all around us. I’m not just referring to the police or the good Samaritan. I mean by the people in your daily life and mine.
Who has not faced big odds all stacked against them? A truly terrifying unknown? Exhaustion in the face of what had to be done?
If you look for it, heroism shows up in lots of ways.
It’s choosing a different path because, despite inherent obstacles, the less traveled one feels more authentic.
It’s rising up, one small step at a time, from the deeply cut wounds of a destructive parent.
It’s living with a child’s grave illness, every breath a whispered prayer for his well-being.
It’s building back from debilitating pain.
It’s opening our minds to beliefs that challenge our own and giving them the space to be equally true.
It’s being 23, opening the door to your brothers in the middle of the night to hear the news that our father has died that day.
The last story is mine The others belong to people close to me. There are countless more. You know things like this about your friends, too.
“A hero is someone who, in spite of weakness, doubt, or not always knowing the answers, goes ahead and overcomes anyway.” ~Christopher Reeve
There never seemed anything remotely courageous about how I hauled myself through the devastation of my father’s death, but eventually I got to the place where I could honor my feelings for him by remembering him with a genuine smile on my face.
We are privileged to know these intimate parts of our friends’ lives and to see where their road has come from. We are in a position to appreciate their unique strides forward.
Swishing their capes and brandishing their super powers, Superheroes are cheered on as they strike down oppression or save a child from an archvillain. Our daily efforts are usually neither obvious nor dramatic, but in our own ways, we often do equally demanding things, usually without validation.
It’s easy for me to take people and their actions for granted. My friends don’t wear skintight leotards most of the time. Their special power gadget is the magic but commonplace iPhone. Like me, they need to brush their teeth in the morning. Also, like me, they can be annoying or irritating at times. We’re all ‘too human’.
Which makes helping each other out that much more important.
We need acknowledgement. A few words from a friend that help us face something scary. A moment of being known that gives us heart to walk into the dark.
Our lives are the opportunity for this kind of journey again and again.
Can we listen for the acts of courage? Spot the heroism that comes from facing weakness or doubt? And from that vantage point, can we support each other’s strengths?
This week I am reminding myself of the ways each person I love has traversed a narrow ledge above a steep drop.
What did you do today that was hard and heroic? Did you push through a fear on behalf of a greater good? Offer more than you were confident you had? Instead of criticizing, did you dig deep for compassion? Instead of defending, did you soften?
What would you consider the hero’s journey of your life? If your friends don’t know this about you, and perhaps you’re just now seeing it yourself, can you share it? What about letting the people you care for see you, and be seen, in this brave way?