Heroes aren't super powers; they're human beings who think of and reach out to others.
For many, when we think of heroes, we instantly consider those in the military, the police force, the firefighting service, and indeed, there is opportunity in these professions to make the sacrifices – to the benefit of others – that are frequently made in these professions.
But it’s easy to forget that heroism is not limited to those who wear uniforms, nor to the grandiose antics of the Superheroes we see on movies (actually, this aspect of heroism is simply a fantasy) or the works of John Wayne movies. True heroism, because heroism is by its nature selfless, frequently shows up in quiet, out of the way places, done by people we may overlook because they do not place themselves in front of our view.
One of the chief aspects of the work, Firefighter, is in the eyes of the person staring out at us. By equipment and uniform, Firefighter fits our definition of the term, hero, but it is the eyes of the person staring out at us that we receive the true measure.
Because, truly, the eyes are the window to the soul – and it is within the soul that the hero resides, the person who gives of him or herself to others, treating them as they wish to be treated themselves.
This deeper, richer meaning of heroism is remarkably difficult to show in movies and TV shows, because what is so romantic, or interesting, about a person changing a baby’s diaper, or caring – oh so patiently! – for a relative who is in the throes of dementia, or giving, without any expectation in return, nor any judgment on the person receiving the gift, to somebody who is in need. These acts of heroism are quiet, humble, ordinary, and when we do them, we are all, inside, dressed like the Firefighter of the painting.
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March 14th, 2017
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