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Everyday Heroism

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I was talking about our current project with a friend of mine, and she made the comment that the idea of a "Hero's Journey" didn't really resonate with her because she didn't feel like a hero, and was way too busy just trying to survive being a single mother with four children, no money, and health issues.

And it occurred to me that it's pretty damn heroic to even consider keeping the house clean when you have that many kids, no help, no husband, no money, and you don't feel good, all your joints ache, and if you pick up something heavy, or turn your body too fast it falls apart...

I've been reading a really good book called The Road, about a boy and his father walking across post-apocalyptic America, starving and sick. There's a small conversation in it that really stuck with me today. The boy asks his father, "Are you real brave?" The father replies, "Just medium." "What's the bravest thing you ever did?" "Getting up this morning."

Life can be so relentless and hard, circumstances and situations can feel so bitter, or so sad, the path ahead can look so bleak that the simple act of getting up in the morning can very easily be an epic act of bravery - very bit as heroic as anything Aragorn or Frodo ever did.

And I have this idea that maybe every human person is an actual hero, that it takes an incredible amount of courage to take on this amazing often excruciating thing called life on earth. When I think of each person I know, and look for their heroic aspects, I can clearly see them. I can't see my own, but I can see theirs. Which reminds me of this quote:

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
~Plato


Just because you're not out there jousting with windmills, or engaging in dramatic acts of heroism, beheading orcs, or slaying vampires, doesn't mean that you aren't fully engaged in your own hero's journey. Just because you don't have dreams of grandeur, doesn't mean that your life is unimportant or lacks meaning. I love the idea of mapping my life as if it is a hero's journey because it helps me with the daily drudgery that too often shows up, and because it gives me the courage to get out of bed in the morning.

What about you? What do you think? Do you have any thoughts and ideas about this? Who are the heroes in your life? When was the last time you told them so?

Postscript:
I found the following while looking for images for this post, it couldn't be more appropriate. The students from Indian River Elementary were inspired to write about heroes. Here are my favorites:

Well, my hero isn´t one person, it´s two people, because my mom and my dad are my most favorite people on this earth, six years ago, my mom went to nursing school and last year she gratuated, she would study, do laundry, have to deal with me and my brother (I admit sometimes we were loud.) And my dad would help me with my homework, make supper, feed me in the morning and wake me up too. Plus, my mom was working a second job with all that school work, laundry, and me, my brother, and my dad did bug her sometimes, so she is a super hero! And my dad made a good dinner for me and my seventeen-year old brother. My dad also would wake me up in the morning. My dad would also be known as a super hero to me too! My mom is know a RN and my dad is a horseshoer and I couldn´t be prouder of both of them! – S.

My hero is my wonderful, loving, outgoing, brother, Barry! He´s my hero because he´s loving, he does sports (and he´s great at them), and he is just an awsome guy! My brother, Barry but I call him Bubba, so Bubba is also my romodle because he does track, shockput and discus. I want to do shock-put. He even is helping me throw it already. I´m kinda good. He also does weightlifting. I want to do that. and he is helping to train a wrestler at N.S.B.H.S. his high school. My brother is also an A + B honorol student. He´s a senious at New Smyrna Beach, well ya know that High School of his. LOL He is in medical acadamy also. He has a strong stomic because he can look at blood and guts and nastey stuff (Yuck) I can´t! Well, you get it now right? He´s just an awsome guy and I love him. He´s my hero. — B.B.

2 comments:

Karla said...

Hey Shirley, I like this because it redefines "HERO" for me. Those kids had completely different ideas of what made their role models heroic in their eyes. I like that. Perhaps we are all heroic to someone. Even if it's just our tail-wagging friends at the end of the day!

Two Feathers said...

"perhaps we are all heroic to someone" ... yes! I bet that's really actually the truth! Thanks Karla.

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