The Reluctant Heroes

This summer’s Olympics brought a new set of heroes to the forefront.  Fierce gymnasts who hurled themselves into the air with what appeared to be reckless abandon, but represented hours of ritualistic repetition to perfect their routines.  Swimmers who flew through the water at break-neck speeds.  We saw a runner with no lower legs with the indomitable spirit of a champion to compete.  These are the heroes witnessed through the media’s eyes and to some we bestow our national pride.  They have worked hard and have earned that respect.

That said, there are a number of heroes that don’t get celebrated on a national level, but we recognize their sacrifice and the work they do.  Our armed forces represent those that sacrifice time from their families, physical injury, and risk the ultimate sacrifice of their lives.  They’re on the front lines to protect our country. Local, State, and Federal Police along with Fire Fighters risk their lives in similar ways internally to protect us.

But what about the reluctant heroes that walk among us?  The ones that if you put them on the spot and told them they were a hero, would wave that comment away as if you were talking crazy.

The single parent who plays two parental roles, struggles to make ends meet and still finds the strength raise their kids are heroes.  Maybe they’re not recognized by the any news organization, but the children who are old enough to understand their sacrifice know.

The teacher who has inspired generations of children to learn, instilled a sense of wonder, and challenged their students to step outside the boundaries of themselves and reach beyond what they believe they were capable.  Not every one of them are recognized, but any student that remembers those special teachers in their lives accepts them as heroes.

The person who doesn’t just talk about their religious faith, but lives it as an example to others every day.  These people are heroes and have the capacity to heal the souls of those around them.

Everyone of us have heroes that touch our lives everyday.  If you acknowledge their heroism, they may be reluctant to accept that mantle.  But if you take the time to recognize what they do for you and what they mean to you with heart-felt gratitude, the reluctant hero will always accept a hug.