The hero season

Springtime, for a number of us, is a time to remember a difficult past amidst the buds and blooms that signal a new season of life is coming around the corner.

The memory of tragedy, the memory of loss doesn’t seem to ever go away completely but somehow our spirit makes room for it amidst the memory of the wonderful moments of life, the first time we hold our babies, that first time our parents tell us they are proud of us, that first time our senses are fully overcome by the bigness of the world, or that moment when we look into the eyes of our love, and feel our love returned. Memories of tragedy and loss for me, seem clustered around this season when nature is busy starting life anew. Strangely, each loss is the loss of a hero or heroine, something that Hollywood seems to tell us is noble, uplifting, things like that. For some cases, maybe the cases where we don’t know the people, that’s an appropriate way to think about it. Firemen running into the World Trade Center, soldiers running into the line of fire, brothers and sisters running into a fight to protect one of their own, the folklore, anecdotes, stories are told in a way that is intended to leave us with the impression that a hero’s act of selflessness is something we should all be prepared to repeat. But can ordinary people, people whose names you know, people who live an everyday life, can they? At that unexpected moment, that instant when it’s all gone wrong, can an ordinary person move forward, go into, action, and put themselves between the threat and another to protect at the cost of their own life? It turns out, some can.

Before the Spring of 2007, I’m not sure I knew a person who had done that…acted to protect someone, and losing their life in the process. By the end of Spring 2008 I knew the names of a few.

I wonder sometimes, how they did what they did. How quickly their minds worked, how they summoned the courage to do what they knew was right, if they knew what doing the right thing would cost them.

Maybe it’s natural to wonder about those things to wonder if it is within us, the strength to make that split-second decision…

Part of that wondering is a way of coping with their loss, a way around the guilt of having survived the tragedy.

Yet, for all the wondering and second-guessing, those who are safe, have to keep living, have to face memories, face down the voice within that says “if only I had…” and make something of the new life, the saved life. Those I know are doing just that, doing the right thing new day after new day.

Spring days bring all kinds of new to the world around. New sights, new sounds, new smells. Some of them seem more noticeable than others. Some birds are brighter, some sounds come to us more clearly, i think its important to try to take them in, make room for them amidst other memories. The cardinal’s call helps me to get my balance after the sirens sound, the bustle of activity between classes helps offset memories of the empty campus, hearing the events of the day from the ones we love balances the memory of the phone ringing late at night.

Through all the new each spring, i remember the names of the heroes. I hope it honors their memory. It’s probably more for me than them, they’ve given their gift, they remind me to keep going, and to do the right thing.

My mind and heart are full each spring, of all the new life around, of the hero’s that I know who act for the benefit of others. The two that grew up under my roof give me great pride, and humble me. They ran to help, they live to help, that they feel to their innermost soul those moments when their efforts couldn’t be enough is testament to the depth of their character. That they rise each day and work to make it all a little better, for people they don’t know, makes me proud.

They’re good people, as hero’s are, as you are too.

That siren outside the hotel window is reminding me that soon it will be time to start my day, remembering the hero’s not with us, and those around us.

Be good to each other, do the right thing, be in spring, enjoy the new day!

One Response to “The hero season”

  1. David Prevette says:

    Thank you, Mike. A joy keeping in touch with you.

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