Everyday Heroes

Lil' Spidey high-fiving Deadpool, Big Apple Con, Saturday October 17, 2009. New York City.
Lil’ Spidey high-fiving Deadpool, Big Apple Con, Saturday October 17, 2009. New York City. Photo by Princess Mérida, CC-BY, via Wikimedia Commons.

So late last year, CNN published their list of 10 People Changing the World – the CNN Heroes of the Year

I’m not going to say that any of these people aren’t heroes.  And I’m not going to say that they aren’t changing the world.  I do not want to, in any way, make it sound like I’m denigrating their contributions to society or the hard work that they so willingly undertake.

But what about the rest of us?  Maybe we’re not all precious snowflakes, but what about all the people leading lives of quiet desperation who are just trying to make it through and don’t have the chance or ability to step up?

In reading through these heroes, though I’m reminded of a song – Easy to be Hard by Three Dog Night.  Just to share a few lyrics…

“especially people
Who care about strangers
Who care about evil
And social injustice
Do you only
Care about the bleeding crowd?
How about a needing friend?”

It just makes me wonder, how do these people do what they do without ignoring or somehow abandoning their own families?  Do they have families?  Do they have friends that they never see?  Never help?  Never get to enjoy?  What about the little people who have enough problems getting through the day?

And somehow that segues nicely into another song that comes to mind when I read these hero profiles…Nobody’s Hero by RUSH

“But he’s nobody’s hero
Saves a drowning child
Cures a wasting disease
Hero…lands the crippled airplane
Solves great mysteries
Hero…not the handsome actor
Who plays a hero’s role
Hero…not the glamour girl
Who’d love to sell her soul
If anybody’s buying
Nobody’s hero”

Many of the Top 10 CNN Heroes of those nominated work with children.  Couldn’t we say that many of those children are heroes?  What about all the children Pushpa Basnet helps?  We know that they are the children of people who are in prison in Nepal.  Why were their parents put in prison?  Are they political prisoners?  Are they suffering for their beliefs?  I can’t help but think that, regardless of what they did, they are suffering because they have their children away from them.  Another hero, Connie Siskowski, runs a group that helps children who may have to drop out of high school because they are caring for ill, disabled, or aging family members.  Aren’t those children heroes?  They are willing – were willing – may still be willing – to give up on their own needs to help family members.  Why do we idolize her over them?

Again, I’m not trying to say these people aren’t heroes, but what I’m trying to say is that perhaps there are more heroes than we are willing to see.  Just like everyone has their own private idea of hell, they also have their own private struggles and problems.  We all probably know heroes, even if we don’t acknowledge them as such.  We may even be heroes ourselves.

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