Merriam-Webster defines a hero as a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability; an illustrious warrior; a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities; one that shows great courage.
For the purpose of today's rantings, I'd like to focus on the last definition of the word hero; one that shows great courage. And then I would like to suggest that unless your a flat out coward, we're all heroes at some point in time. When you face paralyzing fear and conquer it, you become a hero.
Why am I talking about heroes? I've heard this term recently used to describe myself in regards to the last month I spent with my dad. I don't feel like a hero, at least not in the sense of a mythological or legendary figure of divine decent (though my mom and dad might have argued that point) endowed with great strength or ability. Of course, I'd be flattered if they came out with a Hillary Pennington bobble head or a bust of my head, but you get my point. Honestly I believe that someone else in my situation and with the same opportunities (a fabulous mother-in-law willing to watch my kids day in and day out and a husband willing to let us go for an unknown period of time) would do the same thing. In fact, my sister Becca once said that Sherry and I must be the strongest people in the world because she didn't think she could do it. I think she could. Sure it would be scary at first, but she could have done it. Heck, she has three kids...she tackles her fears everyday. If she had to, she would have been there. I believe that. Same goes for my other two siblings. My circumstances simply allowed me to be able to drop everything and go to Augusta. And I have no regrets (I get that I keep saying that).
So sure, I'm a hero because I conquered my fears. When I left Maryland 5 weeks ago, I had three main fears: 1) seeing my dad in the state of weakness, 2) my dad dying without knowing the Lord, and 3) dealing with my family in general. Those fears could have kept me from going. In fact as I got in the car to drive away, tears welled up and a knot appeared in my throat. Literally, I was pushing through the fear (more like praying through it).
This brings me to the source of my heroism...the grace and strength of God. You had to know that was coming. There is no other way to explain it. How else could I sit in that hospital room day after day taking care of my dad whom I wasn't sure, at times, if he would live or die? And once it was clear that he was dying, I almost had to remove myself emotionally from the situation just so I could get through the day. Maybe that's why it still seems so surreal, almost like it didn't happen. Somehow I have to get past the last month, past the last year even, to a place where I can just remember my dad and not the frail shadow of himself. When I close my eyes, I still see him lying in the hospital bed, gone. Maybe this is the cost of heroism. Isn't there always a cost? If there wasn't, then why would it require courage?
Back to my sister, Becca, for a second. I called her the night after my dad's surgery, over a week before he passed, and told her I thought she should come. It wasn't looking good. She told me that she wasn't sure she wanted to see Dad in that state. She didn't want to remember him like that. Still, she came, both for herself and for him. I'm glad she did, because through out the day, he got better. Sue Estes, a family friend, came in and fixed him all up, a good shave, combed hair, brushed teeth. By the time Becca left, Dad was doing and looking ten times better then when she came. This was the last time she saw him. She conquered her fear and that makes her a hero in my book.
Do you see what I mean? We're all heroes, and so was my dad. So I salute you heroes, all of you. Don't let fear and trepidation keep you from being what you are called to be. "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
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