Monday, January 7, 2008

Heroes

No, no, no. This is not a blog about the popular sci-fi TV show that everyone in my family loves, save for me. Quite frankly, that whole time/space continuum mumbo-jumbo makes the Baroness' head feel like exploding. Or imploding. (See? I so-o-o-o-o do not understand science fiction). Nerds. Love you. But keep your geekness to yourselves, 'kay?

So, if you have mistakenly popped in here thinking I was about to talk about Japanese samurais, Syler and perky cheerleaders, go away. I have more important heroes to talk about.

Quite often, when people are polled as to who their personal heroes are, they will choose a sports figure, or a historical figure, or a religious figure - usually with sound logic and reason. These heroes have qualities that the person would like to nurture in themselves. They are innovative, or groundbreaking or inspirational. My heroes have these qualities too. In spades.

But I couldn't really tell you their names. Because these heroes are the people I see walking down the street while I'm on my daily appointed rounds. These are the people, usually seniors, who are walking - slowly - with walkers or canes. Or, like today, arm-in-arm with their sweetie. These are the people who have the spirit, the tenacity, the strength to get out of bed every damn day, regardless of how they ache and in spite of the fact they know how long the day awaiting them will feel. Yet they get up and -even more admirable- they get out. They face slippery stairs and icy streets; they walk in the cold and the rain because they have to. I could barely get my healthy carcass out of my warm bed this morning to go walk around the block. How pathetic is that?

I remember working in the city, and during the daily commute home I would see an elderly gentleman walking along the same route that I traveled. He had obviously had a stroke, and I'm assuming that walking helped in getting some mobility back in his affected side. Every step was not only a forward movement, but an exercise in balance. The first time I noticed him, I was overwhelmed to the point of tears. But then, pity quickly turned to admiration which turned slowly into inspiration. He became my touchstone everyday, and eventually we got past the eye contact mode to the nod mode. No matter how lousy my day had been, everything brightened up when I saw him. He was a walking metaphor of triumph over adversity, and I was grateful to the karma gods for seeing that our paths somehow crossed. When I eventually left that job, one the of things I knew that I would miss the most was my commute home and my nameless buddy.

As time went on (funny how that happens), I discovered that these everyday heroes are everywhere. All I had to do was be present in the world beyond the end of my nose, and there they were, ready to inspire me with their grace and their strength and their spirit.

So, even though I eschew all things sci-ey fi-ey, I will quote this - the truth is out there. So are your heroes.

Just look.



2 comments:

Lisa said...

Amen and well said! I, too, am befuddled and disinterested in things ending in "fi" .... ala sci-fi, hi-fi, wi-fi, etc. I couldn't agree with you more that there are lots of plain-clothes heroes all around us.

Rachel said...

Hiro is my hero! Well, Baroness, you know well that I am not a sci-fi nerd geek but I do like Heroes - maybe because the story also functions on another level. It reminds me that everyone has special qualities - ok maybe not nuclear hands, self-healing or invisibility (though I do experience that when I am at the mall in jeans without makeup, looking every one of my advanced years of age). These "gifts" aren't always useful, positive or welcome. On the other hand, it also reminds me of the everyday heroes you mention - graceful healing comes to mind. Ring a bell, hero of mine?

 
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