Did you ever read comic books? I was never much for them. I knew about the heroes but I never knew all the story-lines. I knew about Superman, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. I remember the movie. I remember when Clark Kent realized who he was and what he was capable of.
Still though, I’d have to say The Old Man was my first real hero. Second would be my brother Dave. They were both very strong.
I admired them and wished I could be more like them. Strong, you know?
Then again, strength is relative.
There is a memory I have of playing around in the basement and something heavy fell on me. Mom heard the crash and shouted, “Are you alright?” down the basement steps.
A lot of weight fell on my back so it was hard to breathe. With the best of my ability, I was able to wheeze out the word, “No.”
(Cue the hero music!)
Mom came running downstairs faster than Superman himself and she lifted my brother’s weight bar from my back. For whatever the reason was, I was playing around on my brother’s weight bench. I crawled through the back-end of the bench and caused the bench and the weights on the weight bar to topple over on me.
On any given day, Mom would not be able to lift this kind of weight. On this day, however, Mom swept down the basement steps in true hero form. She leaned down and picked up one side of the bar so I could crawl out,
The breath was taken out of me. My back hurt. And Mom was literally about to have a heart attack —but in the moment, Mom was the strongest human in the world.
Safe to say I’ve had several heroes throughout my life. There was the time my brother stood up for me. I thought that was pretty heroic.
There was a kid from my town whom I never spoke with and never dared to say anything to.
He was picked on by most people because he appeared to dress differently. He was supposedly gay, which in the smallness of my immature and homophobic thinking meant that if I befriended him or at minimum, if I showed him an ounce of kindness; this would open me up to a similar ridicule. I was too afraid to do something like that.
I never dared to be myself as much as him. I never made fun of him either. Instead, I admired his ability to be himself regardless to what others thought or said.
It turns out the kid wasn’t gay after all (not that it matters). He was just really into a band called The Cure and Gothic music.
I never dared as much as to veer from the path of social acceptance. I never dared to step away from the crowd or stand up for myself.
I never dared to be like him or claim my choices. I never dared to like whom I wanted to like, or be who I wanted to be. Safe to say that kid was a hero to me because he had the ability to simply be himself.
I never knew his name. I just knew he was a kid from the neighborhood. I’m sure he would be surprised to learn that this was the way I saw him.
I’m sure he would never think that anyone would look back upon him in the bullied years and regard him as a hero. But it’s true. He was a hero to me.
There are people I have met throughout my life and they would never know that they were heroic. They would never know that anything about them was heroic at all. Then again, we live in a world when most do not see their own amazing qualities.
I think of all crimes, the theft of our own self is the worst of all. This is when people fail to see their own beauty. Sometimes, even this simple task is heroic enough.
The truth is we all have the ability to be heroic. The truth is we can all save lives. We can empower, motivate, and inspire. This does not matter how strong you are or good looking. It makes no difference how popular you are or financially successful. I have met heroes in homeless shelters. I have met heroes in hospital beds. I have met heroes that never made it out of their youth, but yet before their young and untimely death, they taught us how to live because they were none other than a bud on Earth to blossom in Heaven.
There is no prerequisite to be a hero. Everyone can do this; however, this does not take away the amazement and wonder. This does not make our heroism ordinary or everyday. Not at all.
There are moms and dads that have to go on with life, after experiencing tragedy. They go through loss. And still, somehow, they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, never knowing that this too is a heroic task.
Also, it is important to remember that we cannot be afraid to be our own hero. We have to be our own best friend because at the worst of times, it is us that have to save our own life on a daily basis. From now until the hour of our death, Amen.
Today, however, I am writing this to honor another hero named Jeff. At a time when I was down and out; there was a crowd of people looking to beat me up; Jeff stood up for me and stopped this from happening.
When I was at a lonely point in my life; Jeff stood by me and called me his friend. And yes, Jeff is a hero. In fact, Jeff is the best kind of hero.
Be advised, we live in a media conscious world. Jeff and I would talk on messenger. We talked on the phone a few times. I saw a post of his on Easter and thought to myself, “I have to reach out to him.”
I was scrolling through the social feeds on my media page last night and came across his name. I learned that Jeff passed away.
This hurt but I have good news Heroes can never die.
Safe to say Albert Einstein was right. Einstein said, “Energy cannot be created nor destroyed; it can only change forms.”
Life is energy. Therefore, Jeff is energy and as such, something as powerful as Jeff or his energy can ever be taken away. Therefore Jeff is invincible.
Of course he is.
He is a hero. And heroes never die.
‘Till we meet again—
Sleep well, my friend.
My prayers are always on your side.