They are supposed to be invincible, these heroes we’ve elevated among us.
They are supposed to rise above the odds, leap skyscrapers in single bounds, mesmerize us with their abilities, captivate us with their victory stories, and inspire us to be better people.
They aren’t supposed to be maimed. They aren’t supposed to lie in the public square, bleeding out.
As we gather around them, circling like vultures, our hearts are filled with conflicting emotions; outrage, despair, confusion, determination. We struggle to make sense of the scene. How? Why? We’re determined to not fall for another hero’s politician handshakes. We’re determined to not feel this stupid and vulnerable again.
We keep our eyes low and our heads down as we walk disgustedly away from the scene, forever changed. We won’t trust so easily again, we won’t be so easily inspired next time.
But what if we walk away in a different way?
What if the scene doesn’t doom us, but liberates us? What if we respond brilliantly, rather than defeatedly? Is it possible that a bleeding hero could be our watershed moment?
Could it be possible that our fallen heroes instigate our potential?
It doesn’t take a hero to change the world. It takes each of us, invidividually and collectively. Solving the problems of this world aren’t for the few with resources and platforms, they are for the brave with pure hearts and steady resolve.
We don’t need a bicyclist to call us to action. We don’t need football stars to inspire us. We sure as hell don’t need seedy politicians to tell us what must be done. We only need to look inside us and beside us.
It’s our turn to be the heroes. It’s our day to rewrite the story. It’s high time that we stop hiding, and start fighting. You don’t need a bicycle, a football, or a uniform to change the world. You don’t need to be a celebrity or a preacher to help a neighbor, give a hand to a homeless man, rescue a girl from the sex trade, hug an AIDs patient, stand beside the bullied, give a meal to the hungry, visit the prisoner, adopt an orphan, let go of a grudge, create beautiful art, friend the loner, love the legalist, or serve the disadvantaged.
The world doesn’t change just because a celebrity does something benevolent. It changes when the rest of us choose grace, mercy, and love everyday over the narratives of hate, greed, and selfishness that vie for our allegiance.
Today, let’s stand behind the words of a true hero: “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” (MLK) Let us rise above the hurt and scorn and animosity to become a people of greater grace, brave compassion, and relentless hope.
Let’s be the heroes rather than the vultures.