Saturday, May 12, 2012

An Angel or Hero Defined.

We are often told of heroes in today's world; some of whom, in my opinion, don't deserve the title.  What defines a hero?  In Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia which I reference on a daily basis, it's defined as:

A hero (heroine is usually used for females) (Greek: ἥρως, hḗrōs), in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion.[1] Later, hero (male) and heroine (female) came to refer to characters who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self sacrifice—that is, heroism—for some greater good of all humanity.

Wow, pretty amazing stuff.  So why are some athletes and celebrities lumped into this category?  What display of courage and/or self-sacrifice are they showing for the greater good of humanity?  There are several entertainers who use their power, wealth, and influence to do some amazing things AND more importantly, they're not shouting it from the rooftops.  I concede, these folks are incredible; however, I tend to look towards the every day folks to find my inspiration.  It's easy to do what's right when you have the resources but when someone can find enormous strength out of thin air and still make a difference, this person - this human being - is my inspiration.

I have the personal honour of knowing someone like this.  No matter how dire the situation, she never asks for help.  She never complains.  Her name is Angel and this is her Mother's Day Story.

Angel was raised by a single mother and is the oldest of three girls.  She's unmarried and in her early twenties.  When I met her, my friend had a four year old toddler and was pregnant with a second baby.  Her younger sisters are also unmarried, have babies from previous relationships, and until recently lived with their mother and Angel.

It was pouring rain the afternoon Angel first walked into our sons' therapy office.  I'd been looking over some paperwork waiting for Austynn when her stroller blew through the doors packed with soggy plastic grocery bags and a very unhappy toddler yelling at the top of his lungs.  Despite the fact that all her belongings were soaking wet and she looked like she was ready to give birth at any moment, she had the most beautiful smile on her face.  I couldn't help but grin.  Methodically, she started pulling little outfits from the bags to dry them on the backs of chairs.  We struck up a conversation.

It's amazing how much God allows you to learn about a human being within an hour:

"Bri, I'd like to introduce you to Angel and Aaron.  They're homeless.  She's trying to get away from her unborn's father whom she believes is hurting her son.  That's why she's here.  She needs to get her little boy help.  He seems angry.  Something's wrong.  She's working with her parole officer to get temporary housing for tonight.  She did foolish things when she was younger.  She's going to school now and is looking for work.  She's glad she got away from the man.  Angel, Aaron, and the baby are going to be ok..."

I was touched.  Her smile, her will, her self-confidence...where did it come from?  Here I was moaning and groaning about having the strength to get home and make dinner in my beautiful kitchen.  "Yes Lord, I'm listening." 

From that moment on, Angel and I became friends.  I invited to have her stay with my family until she was able to get settled.  She didn't take me up on the offer but weeks later, after the baby was born, a large and amazing group of other heroes - women from all over the country and my local community - strangers who had never met Angel - donated gifts, money, and time to get this family up on their feet.

These days, I don't hear from Angel often but this is a good thing.  This means she's doing ok.  When I do hear from her, I understand why she's calling.  She's not asking for money or gifts, she's looking for words of encouragemnt.  She'll always have this from me.  This young woman has more courage and determination than anyone I've ever met.  One day, when her children are grown, I'll be proud to share with them what an amazing woman they have for their mother.  Angel; she defines the word, "Hero".