A little boy looked up at his father and asked if superheroes are real. The father looked down at his young boy, proud as could be, and smiled lovingly the way a father smiles at his child. The father inhaled deeply to fill his lungs, and remarked, “Absolutely!” because the father knew, wholeheartedly, there is such a thing as super heroes.
And there are . . .
We all know at least one super hero in our life. Now, of course, when I say this, I do not mean that these people are like Superman or anyone of the major names.
No, these people have more powers than Superman or anyone else that came to us from the comic book world. The difference between them is the reality of their existence. Superheroes are real. I have proof!
I can say this wholeheartedly and without any doubt in my mind that I have met real heroes, alive and in the flesh.
And they may not fly faster than a speeding bullet or be able to leap high over the tallest building in a single bound, but yet, they have saved lives and changed the world we live in.
Only, you will never hear about them. You would never know they exist because the news will never report about them. there is no controversy with them. There is no hooks to their story, nothing forced or fake.
The first hero that comes to my mind was a kind whitehaired man. I never knew much about him personally in the beginning. I just saw him as a kindhearted man.
He smiled often. He never looked down on anyone. I remember the way the room changed as soon as he would come in. There was something fatherly about him, something peaceful about him, and something so pure and gentle, as if judgement never entered his mind, and instead, he would offer himself the same way, unconditionally, to anyone and everyone.
He put his hand on my shoulder once. If you don’t know then you can’t know. However, I will try my best to explain.
He spoke to me for a while. I remember there was pain from his touch. I remember I couldn’t even look at him. Actually, it hurt to look this man. It hurt because he was the light and I was in a dark place.
I couldn’t look at him because his light exposed the truths of my lies. Yet still, he stood by me. He never judged me. He didn’t put me down or tell me I was wrong. He certainly never shamed me. No, he empowered me.
At a time when I was at my worst, I swear, this man used his powers. He simply put his hand on my shoulder. And somehow, for the moment, the evil in me was flushed away.
Father Mike was a hero then. And now he is a Saint.
Yet still, there are others like my friend Mathias. He stood by me when I was just a kid. I might have died had it not been for him. I might have gone the wrong way had it not been for the conversation we had.
No one ever told me the things he said. No one ever related to me this way. I never knew there were others that felt the way I did. I never knew there were others that understood what depression is, or better yet, I never knew there were people that understood what my kind of depression is.
But Mathias knew. He knew exactly how it was. I didn’t even tell him. Mathias told me. I didn’t have to explain because Mathias explained it to me.
He knew where I was. He was there as well. He knew what it meant to want the world to stop, but yet, the world never stops.
Time keeps moving at our worst and we feel as though we might be crushed in the gears of a life which we cannot control. Mathias knew all about this. He was able to put my thoughts into words for me because at the time, I lacked the language to speak my feelings.
At time when I needed him most, Mathias was there. He didn’t need or ask for the spotlight. Although strong as any man would wish to be, Mathias was gentle. He removed the aggression from his voice. He spoke to me in a way to remove that hate in my heart.
I was young. I was at a facility and depressed. More accurately, I was on suicide watch. This man saved my life.
I just wish I was there to help save his. Mathias was found alone in his apartment. He went out the same way he told me to avoid. He killed himself. And just like that, I knew why Mathias understood.
Years ago, I went to a retreat. The retreat was out east on Long Island. The house was a beautiful old home. We were on the water in the bay. The scene was quiet and relaxing. I was unsure about this place.
I was unsure if I wanted to be here and unsure if I felt comfortable with the people in my surrounding. I didn’t want to go. In fact, I was pushed into going. Nevertheless, I was there.
The priest was a kind man. He was very funny too. I never met anyone like him. He was also a member of a 12-step community, which was shocking to me because his story took off in a much different direction.
There was a nun there too. She was an old woman, heavyset, and friendly. She told me to give myself a break. She was kind.
I only met her once and this was more than 25 years ago. But I remember her as clearly as the keys that I use to type this message to you.
There are heroes out there. They are all over the place. Their uniforms are invisible and they sweep in when you need them most. They live just like us. They breathe like us and like Superman; they all have their own kryptonite.
These are the people that help push us forward. They are the ones that sweep in, quicker than the speed of light, and out of nowhere, they appear, like an Angel, like a Saint, like a hand from God the Father himself, and they reach us at the heart, and somehow, they right the things we feel so wrongly about.
I suppose The Old Man was my first hero. My brother Dave was a hero to me too. And so were Mom and Aunt Sondra. So was Uncle Alan, Aunt Peggy, Robbie Christine, and so was Harry. So is Rosalie and so is Iris because of them, I found a feeling in me that was gone for so long.
Superheroes are real. They come at any age too. Like Jake. I never met him but he brought so many people together. I never spoke with Jake. I never had the chance.
I only had the chance to be involved with his family and donate the platelets from my blood. I learned from Jake. I learned more about love than anyplace else.
I learned the light of wholesomeness is more powerful than any dark tragedy. This is the light of life.
I have always wanted to thank Jake for this but I suppose I will have to wait my turn in the afterlife because Jake passed away. He was barely three and yet already, Jake showed me more than anyone else in my lifetime.
My good friend Jim once told me not to be afraid to be my own hero. He told me never be too afraid to rescue myself. “You can do this,” he explained. “You can free yourself at any time.”
Sometimes I forget to be my own hero. But that’s okay . . .
Because I have you . . .
We are all heroes of our own kind, which is why am so thankful for the people in my life. We are certainly not alone.