When I was a kid, every week I could not wait for Saturday morning cartoons. I would get up, race downstairs with my sister, and spend the next 2-3 hours watching the week’s new shows.
My favorite cartoon was Super Friends, which brought together all the superheroes from the Justice League – Superman, Batman & Robin, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman – who would use their superpowers to battle the forces of evil.
While watching Saturday morning cartoons is no longer a childhood ritual, I believe most children still dream of using their special gifts to save others, fight for justice, and bring goodness into the world.
noun: A person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities
These days I think of heroes a bit differently than when I was a child, and I’m drawn to the phrase “noble qualities” from the definition above. I’m thinking of someone who shows up for those he or she loves or serves, day in and day out. Someone who gives without expecting to receive. Someone who persists even when it’s really hard. I believe if we look closely, we’ll find we are surrounded by heroes.
Mitchell* is in his early 70’s, a retired security guard who volunteers for the police auxiliary. He loves to help his neighbors with their handyman projects, and he’s been married for over 50 years to his high-school sweetheart (to whom he is hopelessly devoted). She has her own health issues, and whenever we talk it’s clear that he wants to maintain his health so that he can continue to give her the support she needs.
Rhonda* is an attorney, also in her 70’s, who just recently fully retired. She and her husband dreamed of traveling together when they both finished working, but unfortunately his health has deteriorated which precludes most travel. She has needed to spend much more of her time directly involved in his care.
I view them both as heroes. They take the vow “for better or for worse” to heart, and although life might look differently than it did in their dreams, they continue to charge ahead, taking each day in stride, dealing with what life hands them. Their stories motivate me to help them both stay as healthy as possible, because I know having good health makes it easier to be the hero.
There are people in all our lives who need us to show up in a strong way, to be present in their lives. Who is that for you?
You may not view yourself as a hero, but I bet there is someone who does. I encourage you to keep focus on your health during this strange and difficult time of COVID-19, so you can be the hero you’re called to be.
Dr. Topher Fox
*names changed for privacy