“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” ―Gibran Khalil Gibran
The dictionary defines a hero as one of distinguished courage or ability, admired for brave deeds and noble qualities. Hollywood blockbusters seem to highlight the hero as the brave one, the warrior, or the savior. Even in normal life, it always seems like we see heroes in the wake of a major event like a golden triumph or a wicked defeat. I can just picture the front-page news headline… “Man Saves Woman from Dire Catastrophe- Regarded as Hero.” Sure the brave deeds are great but what happened to the “noble qualities” part? If we took just one second to examine the latter part of that definition, imagine the unsung heroes we could unveil that surround us every single day.
A young man who gave up his seat in class not once, not twice, but three times to a few girls who arrived late. He took his final exam on his knees, leaning against a rickety table. He didn’t think twice about it. He did not complain nor ask questions. He just got up and did it.
A woman who made a room in her house available to whoever she knew that needed a place to go. She had two children of her own, a husband, a few pets, and a career to keep track of yet kept the doors open for years and didn’t ask for anything in return. She took in her guests like they were family. She let them stay for as long as they needed, she fed them, and even invited them to family holidays if they had no one to spend time with. That was just who she was.
A man who committed half a lifetime to our armed forces. He had a wife, three young girls, and a baby boy on the way yet stayed knowing the possibility of the ultimate sacrifice. He did it for his family, for his country. He did it so that we can enjoy a life of freedom and opportunity and always have a place to call “home.” He stuck with it because he wanted to- for the greater good and so others would not have to. Because he believed in giving back, making a difference, and serving with pride.
A woman whose entire being rests in the development and success of others. She has no children of her own but sees most of the people in the world as her children. She believes in them, in their potential to be the best they can possibly be. More importantly, she helps people to believe in themselves. She will rearrange an entire day just to spend thirty minutes with someone if she thinks it will positively impact them in even the smallest way. It is not a chore for her but rather, a calling. Success is as simple as making someone smile.
These are people whose greatest gift to the world is not their stuff but every last inch of themselves. They are everyday heroes and these are their stories. Their legacies do not rest in fortune, possessions, or fame but rather in an intangible and innate desire to do good. These are the stories that people tell their children, grandchildren, their great grandchildren. These are people that make the world a beautiful brighter place even in the darkest of times. They are wonderful human beings and they are all around us, all the time. And while these heroes may not live forever, it is those parts of them- the kindness, love, selflessness, faith, devotion, and compassion- that will forever withstand the test of time.
So, fast forward your own clock ten, twenty, thirty years… what will your story be?