I Am That Hero

“I Am That Hero”

          Here I sit in a pile of newspaper clippings and magazine articles. Wondering, who are my heroes. What makes a hero? What qualities are essential to heroism. The quiet is suddenly shattered with a thud. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? The answer came from a baritone voice in a five foot two inch blond body. “I am that hero.” There stood my daughter in all her grace plopping down in the middle of my office floor taking up the classic Superman stance. She was quoting her favorite cartoon Veggie Tales. The cartoon features a cucumber with super suction ears and angry eyebrows he saves other vegetable characters from a giant rumor weed, and a fib from outer space.

          A vegetable hero! A sport star hero! After September 11th, firefighters and stockbrokers were lumped together as heroes. It seemed anyone could be a hero. Heroism in a classical sense though is still tough to achieve. Some classical heroes enjoy the notoriety of miraculous or, at least, unique conception. Jesus was born to a virgin mother and Buddha’s birth brought about wonderful miracles.

          Not every classical hero enjoys a miraculous conception and birth. Joan of Arc was a normal girl until she heard voices and led an army. Moses heard the voice of God in a burning bush telling him to go to Pharaoh and secure the release of the Jews. Moses conception and birth were normal considering the circumstances, but his childhood was unexpected. His mother saved him from a murderous Pharaoh by putting him in a reed basket and floating him down the Nile River. Superman’s mother did a similar thing by putting him in a spaceship and sending him to earth.

          Some heroes have a talent or gift that sets them apart from their peers. Michael Jordan’s ability to slam dunk a basketball could be considered one of those types of talents. Jesus walked on water and preformed miracles. Hercules preformed twelve great feats of strength and courage among these feats he killed the Stymphalian birds and conquered King Diomedes.

          A trait that I think is important for a hero to poses is selflessness. I think it is important for a hero to sacrifice for the good of the community like Joan of Arc and Hiawatha. Hiawatha’s struggle with Mondamin brought nourishment to his community. His bravery, self-sacrifice, and struggle served an entire people. First, he fasted for seven days, then, he wrestled Mondamin. Joan of Arc as a young and very poor girl saved a great nation. I can only imagine how afraid she must have been when she asked the king for an army to lead. Her bravery alone is enough to mark her unusual, but she was a leader of men and a winner of battles and she was a girl.

          My personal hero’s conception and childhood was about as unspectacular as you can get. Although, her mother knew at conception that her daughter would be blond, blue-eyed, beautiful, and amazing. People thought the mother’s claims were ridiculous. How could she know her daughter without ever seeing her?

          My hero has never experienced divine voices or God speaking to her from burning bushes, but my hero knows instinctively her quest. Her quest is to protect all things childlike. Her quest is to love unquestioning. Her quest is to fight cynicism and faithlessness. She accomplishes this by flatly refusing to give up the things of childhood that are pure. For example, she claps her hands to save Tinkerbell when we watch Peter Pan. She takes with her to Chemistry class soap bubbles, a Winnie the Pooh coloring book and Crayola Crayons. When the dentist pulls her wisdom teeth, she expects a visit from the tooth fairy and expects presents under the Christmas tree from Santa. She sees value in holding on to childhood and protecting even the illusion of innocence.

          My hero enjoys the glory of friendship. Her friends are like the colors in a rainbow different from herself and different from each other. Her friends are three-year-olds and eighty-year-olds and every age in between. Her friends are Irish and Italian and East Indians, Hispanic, Korean, and every other nationality you can imagine. They also come from rich families, poor families, secular families, and religious families. Her strength is that she does not notice the differences and her friends appreciate that gift. She is a faithful friend and makes no “pie crust promises” every promise is a promise kept, and her friends appreciate that too.

          I appreciate her ability to ward off the evils of cynicism. Her tools are joy, unfaltering faith, and a love of all things childlike. Talking to her now is not much different from talking to her when she was three, her vocabulary might be larger. She still looks at the stars with awe, and at night, I can still hear her pray now I lay me down to sleep. In an incredibly polluted world my hero remains unstained even seemingly untouched by an ugly world. It seems that this is a gift to the self, but it is not.

          My hero gives to her community by sharing pure unadulterated joy. The same joy you experience when you hear a baby coo, or laugh deeply at yourself. Her gift is magic it heals the heart and brings hope to those who just cannot go on. Her gift makes the ugly feel beautiful, and it makes the sad laugh out-loud until their stomachs hurt.

My hero is standing in front of me posed like Superman reminding me she is that hero.

          A vegetable hero! A sport star hero! After September 11th, firefighters and stockbrokers were lumped together as heroes. It seemed anyone could be a hero. Heroism in a classical sense though is still tough to achieve. Some classical heroes enjoy the notoriety of miraculous or, at least, unique conception. Jesus was born to a virgin mother and Buddha’s birth brought about wonderful miracles.

          Not every classical hero enjoys a miraculous conception and birth. Joan of Arc was a normal girl until she heard voices and led an army. Moses heard the voice of God in a burning bush telling him to go to Pharaoh and secure the release of the Jews. Granted, Moses conception and birth were normal considering the circumstances, but his childhood was unexpected. His mother saved him from a murderous Pharaoh by putting him in a reed basket and floating him down the Nile River. Superman’s mother did a similar thing by putting him in a space ship and sending him to earth.

          Some heroes have a talent or gift that sets them apart from their peers. Michael Jordan’s ability to slam dunk a basketball could be considered one of those types of talents. Jesus walked on water and preformed miracles. Hercules preformed twelve great feats of strength and courage among these feats he killed the Stymphalian birds and conquered King Diomedes.

          A trait that I think is important for a hero to poses is selflessness. I think it is important for a hero to sacrifice for the good of the community like Joan of Arc and Hiawatha. Hiawatha’s struggle with Mondamin brought nourishment to his community. His bravery, self-sacrifice, and struggle served an entire people. First, he fasted for seven days, then, he wrestled Mondamin. Joan of Arc as a young and very poor girl saved a great nation. I can only imagine how afraid she must have been when she asked the king for an army to lead. Her bravery alone is enough to mark her unusual, but she was a leader of men and a winner of battles and she was a girl.

          My personal hero’s conception and childhood was about as unspectacular as you can get. Although, her mother knew at conception that her daughter would be blond, blue-eyed, beautiful, and amazing. People thought the mother’s claims were ridiculous. How could she know her daughter without ever seeing her?

          My hero has never experienced divine voices or God speaking to her from burning bushes, but my hero knows instinctively her quest. Her quest is to protect all things childlike. Her quest is to love unquestioning. Her quest is to fight cynicism and faithlessness. She accomplishes this by flatly refusing to give up the things of childhood that are pure. For example, she claps her hands to save Tinkerbell when we watch Peter Pan. She takes with her to Chemistry class soap bubbles, a Winnie the Pooh coloring book and Crayola Crayons. When the dentist pulls her wisdom teeth, she expects a visit from the tooth fairy and expects presents under the Christmas tree from Santa. She sees value in holding on to childhood and protecting even the illusion of innocence.

          My hero enjoys the glory of friendship. Her friends are like the colors in a rainbow different from herself and different from each other. Her friends are three-year-olds and eighty-year-olds and every age in between. Her friends are Irish and Italian and East Indians, Hispanic, Korean, and every other nationality you can imagine. They also come from rich families, poor families, secular families, and religious families. Her strength is that she does not notice the differences and her friends appreciate that gift. She is a faithful friend and makes no “pie crust promises” every promise is a promise kept, and her friends appreciate that too.

          I appreciate her ability to ward off the evils of cynicism. Her tools are joy, unfaltering faith, and a love of all things childlike. Talking to her now is not much different from talking to her when she was three, her vocabulary might be larger. She still looks at the stars with awe, and at night, I can still hear her pray now I lay me down to sleep. In an incredibly polluted world my hero remains unstained even seemingly untouched by an ugly world. It seems that this is a gift to the self, but it is not.

          My hero gives to her community by sharing pure unadulterated joy. The same joy you experience when you hear a baby coo, or laugh deeply at yourself. Her gift is magic it heals the heart and brings hope to those who just cannot go on. Her gift makes the ugly feel beautiful, and it makes the sad laugh out-loud until their stomachs hurt.

My hero is standing in front of me posed like Superman reminding me she is that hero.

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