Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


The Unsung Heros Among Us

I’m so relieved we don’t have to be superheroes. Besides, can you imagine having to wear one of these get-ups?

“There are no ‘heroes’,” an old theology prof used to say.

I disagree.  There are no superheroes, yes, despite what Nietsche might claim- but heroes?  They’re around.

Some friends and I were discussing the movie, The Hobbit.  One friend said he doesn’t go for flicks in which the hero is small.  Heroes in his book need to be tall and dashing, and my friend is right about something: Bilbo Baggins doesn’t fit the bill.  He’s very small, kind of homely, is risk-adverse, indecisive and unsure about his gifts.  He prefers the safety of his home to the unknown perils of the open road.

Maybe this describes many of us.  If we’re not physically small, we feel small.  We’ve become accustomed to our bourgeois comforts with an unruffled complacence that makes us believe we’re not capable of anything heroic.  We think heroism is the stuff of “bigger” people with grand ambitions born into power and privilege.

But I’m convinced God chooses small people to do truly heroic things.  God chooses a guy with a speech impediment and a criminal record to free the people of Israel from years of bondage.  God picks a kid with a stone to slay Goliath.  God makes a poor, unwed teenaged girl the mother of Jesus.

God uses small people “to do little things with great love,” as Mother Teresa once put it.

Heroism isn’t dead.  So long as there are human beings with stories to be lived, personal battles to be fought, struggles to be overcome, and foes to conquer, heroes, in all their inspired ordinariness, will continue to ennoble us and make this world a little better.

Who are your heros?  Send along your comments, and I’ll republish them (with your permission).

 

 



  • Pingback: Unsung Heroes: A Lesson in Unconditional Love - Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

  • Kristina Robb-Dover

    Thanks, Michael! It’ll be up in a couple of days here.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Michael Mills

    Hi Kristina,

    Feel free to use it in anyway you see fit.

    Michael

  • Kristina Robb-Dover

    Michael, This is a really beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing it. It makes a difference knowing we’re unconditionally loved, doesn’t it? Thank you for your service to our country. Would you mind if I republished this in an actual post? I hope you’ll keep coming back. Kristina

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Michael Mills

    In August 1969 I entered the Army’s Warrant Officer Flight Training Program. I had always wanted to be a pilot. And, thanks to the Vietnam War and the need for pilots, the Army waved the college requirements. So there I was, an 18 year old having just graduated from high school being given the opportunity to realize my childhood dream.

    I took to flying like a duck to water. I even enjoyed the classroom training. But the military side of the program was very tough. The discipline and harassment were intended to weed out those who were not motivated enough or those who simply could not cut it. Each class lost between 50 to 65 percent by the time graduation arrived.

    Around my third month in the year-long training, we had already lost three from my class and I feared I might be next. After all, I was immature. Plus, it was the first time that I had ever been away from my family for any length of time.

    One night, out of desperation, I called home. Mom answered the phone. In tears, I told her of my fears and shared how difficult the program was. Suddenly she said, “Let me put your father on the phone.”

    “What! Why is she doing that,” I wondered? I mean, I knew my father loved me. I loved him, too. But he’d never actually said as much in words. In the 1950s and 60s men were generally not demonstrative. I wanted a hug from mom, not a lecture from dad.

    When dad got on the phone I was still crying. He patiently listened until I had exhausted all I’d needed to say. Then, in that vulnerable moment, he softly said, “Michael, if you want to quit, then quit. If you want to stay, then stay. And if you stay and wash out of the program, so what! You’re my son and I love you. Whether you graduate or not; will not change that fact! You will always be my son no matter what. I’m proud of you.”

    As I walked up the stairs to my room I noticed, with a measure of pleasant surprise, that the burden I’d been carrying seemed much lighter. I’ll never forget my next thought, which was: “This isn’t so tough….” I had discovered a brand new paradigm.

    Nine months later I graduated with honors and was given my choice of aircraft as a reward, in addition to becoming a Warrant Officer. Mom and dad were in the audience with several hundred other parents and family.

    Over the years I’ve come to realize that God used my father to teach me a lesson about unconditional love. And in the process, my father became my hero.

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