September 17     

Today's quotation:

If we wait to foil a bank robbery or rescue someone tied on the railroad tracks we will never be a hero.  We probably won't even come across a cat stuck in a tree.  As long as we sit at the bus stop waiting for our great moment we will miss our real chance at the heroic:  the infinite number of tiny daily acts inspired by the great.  Our actions may seem insignificant, but their results will grow and multiply.


Today's Meditation:

Our modern media and entertainment industries continue to barrage us with their ideas of what "heroic" means:  killing bad guys and saving people from terrorists; defusing bombs and blowing up buildings or saving someone from ferocious beasts or psychotic murderers.  The writers of these works are trying to do mostly one thing:  make money by exploiting our desire to live vicariously through actors in situations that none of us probably will ever see.  And most of us buy into this idea of heroism and realize that we never will be a "hero" as people in Hollywood or Madison Avenue see heroes.

I don't have any superpowers and I don't have a license to carry a concealed firearm, so does that mean that I never can be a hero?  Absolutely not.  It's up to us to define "heroism" for ourselves, and it's up to us to become heroes on our own terms.  We can be heroic in our imaginations, but that type of heroism doesn't help the people we meet in our day-to-day lives.  We can be heroic in small, almost insignificant ways, too-- giving to others and helping others to be happy or fulfilled in their lives.  Our tiny acts of heroism won't make someone happy, but perhaps they can relieve some of the stress or worry in another person's life so that the person can find happiness more easily.

In all my time on this planet, I've never seen someone else raise a gun at another person or become involved in a high-speed chase in a major metropolitan area in order to capture bank robbers.  But I have seen many people practice heroism on their own small scale, and I know that I have a richer life for what's been given to me personally on a small scale than for what some "hero" has done to save humanity on a great scale.

Just because I can't save the world doesn't mean that I can't be a hero!

Questions to consider:

In what ways are you (or could you be) heroic?

Why do so many people use the term "hero" only for someone who is "heroic" in violent ways?

Do we necessarily have to risk our lives in order to be a hero?

For further thought:

A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his or her freedom.

Bob Dylan



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