Heroism Saves You: Everyday Hero, part 4

Simply being there to meet a need for someone is a game and life changer.

When I was putting my thoughts together for this last post in the everyday hero series, I remembered a speech that my niece Kelsey gave in her high school speech class many, many years ago. I wasn’t there for the speech, but her mom sent me a copy of the outline that Kelsey used to make her presentation.

I can’t remember how long I cried not only after reading my story through someone else’s eyes, but also thinking about the impact of our decision to adopt Juliana. In her own words, Kelsey outlined our trials through infertility, and the joys and difficulties faced when Juliana and then Jessa came along. Here is the conclusion of Kelsey’s speech titled, My Hero:

My Aunt Sabrina continues to love her husband and her family.

~My aunt is my hero because she continues through her life living in joy.

~She hasn’t and never will give up on Juliana.

~She continues to love and care for her.

~She has taught me to rejoice in the Lord always, even when life gets tough.

~If I could tell her one thing, it would be that she is an amazing, beautiful woman who has been an excellent example to me.

And that is why my Aunt Sabrina is my hero.

When people see us with Juliana and learn about her challenges, they praise us for our courage and strength. They tell us how lucky she is to have us. We’ve thought some about that, but Lamar and I see things differently. She saved us too.

We wanted to be parents. We wanted to have a family and she made that dream come true for us. I’m a different me; a better me since she came into our lives. I get to tell our story and touch others through this blog. It wouldn’t be possible if Juliana hadn’t saved the day for us.

I can’t attest to it in every situation, but I believe that’s the way it is with everyday heroes. You affect change in the lives of the people for whom you show up. While you are busy saving the day for them, they save the day for you.

The time has gone so fast in this series. I’ve laid out what everyday heroism means to me and by doing so I hope it has a different meaning for you. Simply being there to meet a need for someone is a game and life changer.

I’ve put it out there the best I know how. I hope it will make a difference in some lives. Showing up certainly changed us.

When the next chance comes, will you step up to be an everyday hero? You never know what awaits you.

Obstacles in Heroism: Everyday Hero Part 3

It’s hard to be there for others when stifled by self-doubt. We could find ourselves believing that we’re not ENOUGH to be an everyday hero. It’s simply not true.

The other day I was reading an interview in the Atlanta Journal Constitution with former first lady Rosalynn Carter. She turned 90 on August 18th and is still quite active with a legacy of advocacy and do-gooding that would put anyone to shame.

I did a backtrack when I read this in the article, “I turned 50, and I thought that was really bad.” She was turning 50 and living in the White House. In that moment, it didn’t matter that she lived in the most powerful house in the United States. Self-doubt can hit anyone, anywhere.

I was reminded of how vulnerable we are to our own thoughts. The messages that run through our minds that can limit us.

I do it. Rosalynn Carter did it. You probably do it too.

In the interview, the former first lady said she wish she could go back to reassure her younger self “that you can have a full life after 50.” There are bad messages that play in our heads that tell us we aren’t  enough–young enough, smart enough, or maybe even wealthy enough.

That’s the rub I want to uncover.

It’s hard to be there for others when stifled by self-doubt. We could find ourselves believing that we’re not ENOUGH to be an everyday hero. It’s simply not true.

Years ago, when I was in my first job as an HR Manager, I was going through a crazy time at work. On the way to the office one morning, I stopped to get some hot, fresh donuts. One of my co-workers stopped by my office later that day and asked me if I had a new boyfriend. “No,” I said. “I just wanted to do something nice for everybody.”

While that quick stop to the donut shop did nothing to help our waistlines that day, it made me forget all about the craziness around me. I was pleased to see everyone gathered around the donut boxes, chatting and laughing. I’m sure they forgot about some of their troubles for a moment too.

There will be obstacles to being an everyday hero.

Sometimes you won’t feel like helping. Sometimes you may not have the time or means to help. Don’t let the word EVERYDAY get in your way. It doesn’t mean that you are “saving the day” all the time. Everyday could mean every now and then for you. Remember that a little here and a little there go a long, long way.

I keep reminding myself I am enough. You are enough to be an everyday hero too.

Is there something getting in your way of saving the day? Is there a bad message playing that you need to turn off?

Cereal Heroism: Everyday Hero Part 2

“Oh, Mommy, I love these cereal,” Jessa mushed. “Are all these new cereal for us?”

“Nope. These are for the food drive at church,” I replied.

“It’s already time for it?” she questioned.

“Not yet,” I explained. “They were on sale. I got these cereal so we could start saving them.”

“Mmmm, they really look good. Are they ones I can eat?”

“Let me check the ingredients,” I answered relunctantly.

As I scanned the ingredients panel, I realized that none of Jessa’s allergens were listed. But my mind was also whirling. Should I tell her she couldn’t have the cereal or just add them to the pantry for her to enjoy later. The food drive is months away and I had plenty of time to catch more sales.

“You know, Jessa. There is nothing bad in these that you can’t have. But these cereal are not for us. We’re gonna save these for kids who don’t have cereal to eat at home. I’ll keep buying more and we’ll have a lot of them to give away.”

I watched her face go from slight disappointment to understanding. “Yeah, she said. That will be good.”

And this is how simple acts of heroism start. No, we will not be resolving the hunger crisis by donating cereal at our church’s annual food drive. But we will be making a difference in our community; showing up for children that we will never know. I loved this teachable moment that demonstrated to Jessa how to be there for someone even if it might be a little inconvenient for you.

Last week, I started a four-part series exploring what it means to be an everyday hero. In our culture, heroes are often acknowledged as people who do big, out-of-the-ordinary things. In my mind, heroism is about being there to help those who need it. Big deeds or small ones.

It’s a lesson that is never too early to impart. This summer, while the adults sat in “big church” learning about everyday heroes, the girls learned the same lesson at their own level. There was even a comic book with lessons about doing the right thing and how you can show up to save the day.

If we continue having these everyday hero conversations enough, good seeds will be planted and flourish. Our children will grow up knowing that they have the ability to change things and make a big difference for someone else.

Even with something as simple as a box of cereal.