Earlier this week, while driving down South Dixie Highway, my son and I saw Spider-Man casually walking down the street: full costume in the hot afternoon sun.
As my son beamed ecstatically about seeing one of his favorite superheroes, and jumped up and down in his car seat with all the requisite joy of any 7-year-old, I grinned at him in my rearview mirror knowing that this
abnormal event will stick in his mind forever, positively imprinted there accordingly.
That’s just what heroes do.
Sometimes it’s saving the day or a life, sometimes it’s just being there. Whatever the reason, heroes make things better for others -- one or many -- not just for themselves.
A hero’s journey however is not without peril, and most of the time, filled with loss: such as with the deaths of Spider-Man’s first girlfriend Gwen Stacy and his Uncle Ben, Batman’s parents Thomas and Martha Wayne, or the
destruction of Superman’s birth planet of Krypton.
With these heroes, their origin’s spun out of their tragedies, urging them forward in their quest for truth and justice.
At other times, what a hero does might even anger the public or society at large.
Still, they continue on their virtuous task.
But while these characters inhabit our imaginations, there are real-life heroes all around us, now more than ever.
Medical staff across the country combating the pandemic on hospital frontlines, essential workers in grocery and retail ensuring we have all that we need or want on a daily basis, protestors who fight for the equality of Black Americans despite public misgivings, and proper policemen and women who now struggle to take back the honor of their
position despite dishonorable and racist members of their profession.
Their journeys have not, nor will not, be easy.
Also remember the others who are sacrificing much right now also, struggling with life now during COVID-19: parents and children dealing with a world changed, most likely forever, in just over 3 months with ever increasing risks.
That’s right -- we’ve only been dealing with this for 3 months.
Nonetheless, we can all be heroes to someone in our everyday life.
Whether it’s happily spending time with our family, calling someone to check in on them, mailing a card to others you haven’t spoken with in far too long, or finding other ways to let your family and friends know that you care.
Or maybe it’s just putting on the costume of your kid’s favorite superhero and just showing up.
Easy enough, but lest you think it’s too easy, remember that a hero usually has to sacrifice something along the way.
You would be sacrificing your time.
While we all seem to have much more of it these days, we also now understand that no one truly knows how much any of us really has. Yet, that sacrifice would stir in the recipient something that all heroes strive to offer in the grimmest of times, the darkest of days.
That thing is hope, and that is something worthy of a hero’s journey.
Especially, if it makes a young boy smile brighter than he ever has in months.