A friend of yours who sometimes has a bit of a temper has hit rock bottom. He has no money, has no place to live, but happens to own a shotgun. He gets a little drunk one night and decides that the only way he will be able to get out of his hole is take his gun and rob someone at gunpoint. Either that or swallow the barrel and just end it all. What do you do?
This is not a joke, nor a completely hypothetical question. This is an experience I once had. What did I do? I talked him out of it, got the gun away from him and hid all the shells I could find. Then I, and his girlfriend at the time did what we could do to sober him up.
Let’s talk about heroism.
Did the actions I took that day make me some kind of hero? Some might say yes. Personally, I don’t think so. I just did what I needed to do to make sure that my friend did not hurt himself or anyone else. Nothing heroic, just doing what needed to be done.
I often hear our soldiers labeled heroes. Or firefighters and policeman. Now I won’t say there are not many heroic acts in these professions, but the profession itself does not make one some kind of hero. It is the actions of individuals that makes a hero, not the uniform they wear. If anything, many are simply doing the job they have been throughly trained for. And in man cases, they end up hurting others … and not always even knowing why.
To me heroism is doing the right thing when everyone else wants you to believe it is wrong; it is doing what needs to be done when others are afraid to do it. Heroism is continuing to move forward when everything is trying to push you back; doing all these things with a strong sense of right and wrong, trying to ensure the least amount of negative results, and not for personal gain. Doing something hard because it is your job does not by default make one a hero. Nor does expecting something in return.
So what’s my point?
Rosa Parks brought great change by choosing a different seat on a bus, despite the “law” and everyone “knowing” it was “wrong”. Mother Teresa cared for the forgotten, because nobody else wanted to see them. Gandhi showed the world that sitting can be as effective as guns. Some of the most profound changes for the better in our conflict loving world resulted from the simplest of acts. Not from screaming loudly and waving weapons around; not from fighting and killing, but from simply having the courage to stand up to an injustice and say, “I am going to sit in that seat. Because that is where I want to sit!”
Here’s to the Rosa Parks of the world. Here’s to those who are willing to walk against the crowd because they know in their hearts the crowd is going the wrong way. Here’s to using our minds and hearts to change, instead of our muscles and weapons. Thank you all for making the world a better place!
This post was prompted my new friends (heroes all in my mind) in a Facebook Group called Americans and Muslims can be friends!!! We have chosen to promote understanding and communication instead of violence; to educate instead of fight. There have been misunderstanding and disagreements, and even some hurt feelings. But we tried a unique method of dealing with our differences We opened our minds and hearts and actually LISTENED to the other side.
So far the body count has been zero. Hmmmmmm.