by Anita Mae Draper
Heroes. We know them. We dream about them. We want to be rescued by them. But what exactly is a hero?
Dictionary.com says a hero is: 'A man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.' It then goes on to say that in today’s world, hero is considered gender-neutral when you’re talking about deeds although a romance novel will always have a hero and heroine. But, if the lady down the street saves a child from drowning, she is a hero for all intents and purposes.
Remember the old story where the hero takes his cloak off and spreads it over a puddle so a woman could pass without getting her boots muddy. Is that a heroic deed? I’m see-sawing here between it being gentlemanly and stupid considering he now has a soiled cloak.
So if a hero is defined by a heroic deed, what constitutes a heroic deed? Last Sept, I attended a workshop by Literary Agent Natasha Kern and she said a hero was “someone who overcomes to get something worthwhile.” She used the example of Indiana Jones and his fear of snakes – yet he gets dropped in a snake pit. And she mentioned a heroine with a fear of water who gets dropped in the Atlantic Ocean. She said, “Courage isn’t people without fear but those who go ahead and do it in spite of it”. These characters will become the Hero because they overcome their fears.
I’ve often read – or seen on TV - real-life heroes who can’t explain their actions, but when faced with the task, they just did it because it was the right thing to do. In spite of everything.
- A man who can’t swim jumps in a raging river to rescue a drowning woman.
- A mother who’s allergic to bees rushes into a swarm to rescue the child lying on the ground.
- A teen who’s petrified of fire charges back into a burning building to rescue his sister who’s probably hiding in the closet.
These are all examples of true heroic deeds.
The Bible is filled with stories of heroes:
- Queen Esther who went before the King with a request to spare her people fully aware of the king’s edict of a death penalty for appearing without a summons. (Esther 4:11, 5:1-2)
- The Good Samaritan who stopped to give aid to a wounded Jew fully aware the Jews hated Samaritans. (Luke 10:30-36)
- The prostitute, Rahab, who hid 2 men and then helped them escape fully aware they were Israelite spies hunted by the king of Jericho.
- David, the young shepherd boy, who went up against Goliath fully aware the Philistine was a nine-foot giant. (1 Sam 17:41-50)
- Gideon, who led the battle against the Midianites while doubting his own ability as a military commander. (Judges 6:15)
All these people faced theirs fears and then did what they had to do because it was the right thing to do. That’s heroism.
There’s no way what happened to me on Sunday can compare with the above acts of heroism, but it will give you an idea of what I’m talking about…