Hero = noun, plural he·roes; for 5 also he·ros.
a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character:
He became a local hero when he saved the drowning child.
a person who, in the opinion of others, has special achievements, abilities, or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal:
My older sister is my hero. Entrepreneurs are our modern heroes.
I am thinking of making this a series of blogs about people who have impacted my life either intentionally or without knowing. Some I know, some are strangers; some come to stay for a while, fellow pilgrims sharing their journey with me and vice verse, while others are there for a moment and then gone. But all have changed my life in one way or another, and so I am very grateful for them. And every time I think of them, I am again inspired to press on, to keep going, to remember who I am and why I do what I do. They deserve to be my heroes.
The Old Man with a Young Heart:
I used to see them almost every day, same time, same place unless it was raining. He, a little old man, but pretty fit for his age and his wife, trapped in a wheelchair and dependent on her husband to create for her as much freedom as he possibly could. For weeks I would simply walk past them, maybe say “Good morning,” and then carry on. Invariably, I had a baby, disgruntled, sometimes screaming, who hated the pram with a vengeance, so conversation would be challenging. At least that is my excuse! Until…
In the end I could not resist! I never can! I said hello, and then started a conversation, that ended up with me saying to the old man, “I watch you every day and have figured out that you are amazing, walking your wife down to the beach every day.” To which he replied, “Oh, it’s nothing. The lady is worth it!” At which point, I could feel the tears coming, and moved on quickly.
These are those divine appointments, those God-created encounters with ordinary people, who do extraordinary things and become heroes without realising it, inspiring others to crack on, and press in, however tough it is. And in those moments with these heroes, I find renewed strength, courage and resilience to keep on doing what I do, because whoever it is, and whatever it is I am doing, “they are worth it.”
The Bible talks about us all being made in the image of God. Now that can mean a whole range of things, depending on your theological position, the journey you have been on and the kind of person you are. But, at the very least, it means that you are “worth it.” It places within each person living today an intrinsic value based on nothing other than you are alive and breathing and made in the image of God.
And for me, living in this moment and enjoying it, this intrinsic value must, by definition, impact the way I am living now, what I am doing and why I am doing it, how I relate to God – my Papa – and how I relate to the next one. For the most part, the next one for me is the little one in our care today; it is the birth parents with all their pain and darkness and wounds and their inability to care for their little ones; it is the social workers and other professionals, most of whom try to do the best they can while working in a broken and malnourished system. And all of them are worth my best efforts to be like my Papa, just because they are, made in the image of God. And, of course, it means those who are always my next ones – my wife, my own kids, my wider family, and my church family – they are all worth it.
And so, when I look back at where I started, admiring a little old man pushing his disabled wife down the beach because she is worth it, I am inspired to just maybe, be a hero and an inspiration to somebody else.