April 2, 2008


Filed under: COMMENTARY — carolyncholland @ 2:53 am
Tags: , , , ,

While reading a list of 20th century heroes that included the Kennedys, Princess Diana, Anne Franks and Rosa Parks I wondered: Who were the heroes in my life?

Initially I had difficulty answering that question, but deeper probing of my past pulled up the image of a woman whose name and appearance are lost in the recesses of my mind. However, the circumstances that made her a “quiet hero” were so strong I never forgot them.

It was my second summer living in public housing in Buffalo, N. Y. While gathering the neighborhood children for a morning jaunt to the playground, as I had done daily the previous summer, I knocked on her door I asked if five-year-old Julie was ready.

“Yes,” she said. “But Jenny is old enough now to join the kids.”

A simple statement that showed love, inclusion and fairness. Her younger daughter could now join the crowd. It was so different from my own home where anger, division and fighting were the norm.

This woman, in her simple statement, demonstrated to me a different and new way of treating people. At that moment I became determined I would never treat my five much-younger siblings the way my family was teaching me to parent, nor would I treat my own or any other child the way I was being taught. There was another way, a way of love.

To me, the nameless and featureless woman whom I never thanked (genuine appreciation was a lesson I had yet to learn) was a hero. An everyday hero. Someone who taught love unknowingly because that was who she was.

I now realize there were numerous quiet heroes in my life, but I didn’t recognize them. They were the quiet ones who had God’s love in their hearts, and, like my neighbor, don’t realize their witness because love is simply a part of who they are.

Who are your heroes? And to whom are you a hero? Do you project the love of God that enables you to be that quiet hero to someone simply because of who you are? I’d like to hear your story in the comment box below.




1 Comment »

  1. (A) mixed group of European (tourists) had one question about America today: Who are our heroes…(Americans responded with names of cartoon and film characters…and the living cartoons of the reality shows) were the true heroes of our society, to be watched and emulated.) Jean could not be satisfied as to why so many football players were called heroes. ..Karla asked about Madonna and even Paris Hilton… They were right. How does one compare a Paris Hilton with some GI whose life was lost so that others of his company could survive. Overstatement and exaggeration are a part of what “sells” these days. But today—when heroism is a much-needed quality—there should be some restraint. By a Washington-based British journalist and political observer. (Tribune-Review Newspaper, 13 April 2008 Commentary)

    Comment by carolyncholland — May 7, 2008 @ 10:51 am | Reply

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