Hero: a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
When I was young, (yeah, I'm old and I have no problem with that because I worked hard to get here!) I admired Billy Graham and Mother Teresa.
I admired Billy Graham for traveling all over the world to share God's love to anyone and everyone. I was even more impressed when I learned about the tedious preparation before he arrived and establishing ongoing engagement with local people after his departure. I especially admired him for having private conversations with world leaders and we, the public, never heard a word from him about the content of those conversations. He met with leaders he disagreed with but honored their position and his calling to go and be with them. He knew "holy" ground could also be found in places outside of stadiums, church walls and prayer closets.
I admired Mother Teresa because she treated everyone the same- including those cast aside, the most neglected and feared. She honored the God-given worth of every soul, even those who were close to dying as she gave the gift of her time to be with them. They had nothing to offer her in return. She didn't have to travel the world to find where she could best live out who she was created to be. After recently watching The Letters , I learned she was a "pioneer" in Catholicism as she followed what she believed was her calling. The movie revealed some of the struggles and alienation which Mother Teresa experienced as she loved others with God's heart. I thought the challenges she faced in loving the terminally sick and poor was "tough enough" and I had no idea she was also dealing with the church not understanding and at times, not endorsing her calling.
They were my "heroes" in a world filled with leaders climbing the corporate ladder, misusing power, and other empty priorities. These two seemed to be concerned with nothing more than being who God created them to be and loving others as God loved them. There were other more ordinary and less well known heroes in my life. The less well known taught me how even though a hero can be popular for their noble qualities, they are still everyday people who struggle, who make mistakes and who continue to persevere. They do this in spite of and in the midst of some of the most daunting and challenging circumstances.
These two and other heroes inspire, bless, and call forth more from me. These two well known (I guess that depends on your age!) heroes never met me and have no idea of their influence on my life. However, I've tried to let those I know, whom I've met, how much their lives have made a difference for mine.
Who are the people on your "hero" list? How did they get there? What do they call forth from your life?