What is a hero?
Do they wear a cape?(or very strictly no capes?) Do the brandish guns? Do they win every competition? Solve every problem? Are they public figures? Deeply introspective?
I saw a meme once that compared Caitlyn Jenner to individuals in the Armed Forces saying that what the Armed Forces did when they risked their lives for so many things is heroic and what she did was not.
I work with men who think they always have to be strong and can’t have any problems.
I live in a media culture saturated with “heroes” who have special powers, absurdly extreme challenges to overcome, and really high performance rates.
I hang out with some activists who are driven and drive others to be the most open, most outspoken, the most doggedly determined to get their message in your face, no matter the personal cost to themselves.
I participate in a church culture that models starting small businesses, having a minimum of four kids, home schooling them all and all on one income.
I participate in a faith tradition whose greatest Hero got down and scrubbed the dirty feet of His followers, then went to be executed for crimes He did not commit.
What is a hero?
What does heroism look like for me, being a second generation half-Filipino, cisgendered, queer male with a good education, a decent job, a growing family and almost two years clean?
True heroism is recognizing where I am weak. Being brave enough to face my past demons and cry about past wounds with my friends. (Still working on the crying part.)
Being willing to face the unfamiliar and live differently.
Coming home to my children every day. Hugging them instead of hitting them. Telling them they are loved, and making space for their feelings so as to model for them that their feelings are okay.
Coming home to my partner every night. Speaking kindly to them about how I appreciate them and only bringing up frustrations when I have (hopefully) clearly demonstrated that I love them. In all things, showing them that they are loved, appreciated, important and beautiful.
Coming home to only my partner, even when I’m angry with them, even when they’re deep in their own process an less able to support me in my own.
Being willing to make sacrifices for my family and chosen family, especially when I am inconvenienced.
Being vulnerable. Letting safe people know where I am weak and need help.
Being open to learning and teachable when I’m shown that I’m wrong.
Being a healthy person who is wise and kind enough to sometimes put the needs of others above my own.
All this heroism can be accomplished without violence.
Without super strength or gorgeous body.
Without an abundance of money.
Doing all of this well, as a sustainable lifestyle, depends on the peace of God dwelling in me, which requires that I abide in His presence.
If God is my strength and sufficiency, and I believe He is, then I can encounter and muddle through a wide range of situations and challenges without being destroyed. His strength becomes my safety. By His grace, the heroic becomes everyday in me.