One commonality we all share is our search for heroes. We look to sports figures, celebrities, politicians, and are frequently disappointed when we learn they have indulged in performance enhancing drugs or scandals. One by one many of these clay soldiers fall.
About eight years ago, I met a friend my husband had made through business. We have been in the company of him and his wife of 50 years several times and always have a good time. The same types of ridiculousness make us laugh, and we share ideologies in many other areas: our children are a source of love and pride; we marvel a the beauty and power of nature; at irony and politics; we teared up when we watched Obama deliver the commencement address at Notre Dame, incredulous at his poise in the face of being jeered.
Several years ago, the husband was diagnosed with ALS. This devastating disease is progressive and aggressive. We've watched his body begin to turn on him and betray him systematically. He now must use a walker, rest after the slightest exertion, and is limited in the places he can frequent as everywhere he goes must be handicapped accessible. Not once has he complained or had a 'my life is so tough' or 'why me' attitude. He talks openly about the changes he is experiencing and considers himself lucky to be able to prepare for the inevitable and say goodbye to those he cares about. We're planning on a cruise to the Maritime Provinces in 2011, and he will join us if he is able. He has not stopped living in anticipation of his demise, but has instead allowed himself to cherish what he has left.
And so it occurs to me that if there is a shortage of heroes maybe we're not looking in the right places. Why choose people we hardly know because of outward appearance, wealth, or the ability to throw a football, or hit a baseball when heroes like our friend are all around us? Come to think of it, why look beyond ourselves , why look to others for heroes when each of us has the power to be one?
- I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.