08 October 2008

heroes...

...they don't seem to come along as often in life as we would like, but when they do, their impacts have far-reaching effects. often times they are quiet folks living their ordinary lives, but underneath the seeming ordinariness, there is something else. we may not recognize it immediately, but when we do, the gift of their presence is beyond compare.when i was in high school, nearing graduation (a scary time to be sure), i dated a guy who was nice, but it was his parents i preferred to visit, particularly his dad, mr. C. mr. C. was a former math teacher who took a better job in a different sector, but his heart was forever with students. what a blessing that was to my insecure self! sitting around their kitchen table, debating, discussing, laughing, sometimes crying, i crossed a gentle bridge into adulthood.mr. C.'s letters & phone calls throughout my adult life always seemed to arrive at the right moment...how did he know? his words were always just right...you can do this, you are not alone. at one of my very lowest moments, he & his wife reminded me that if the bottom fell out of my world, i would always have a place in their home to get back on my feet. wow. in the grand scheme of things, he did nothing profound...he simply listened to quiet urgings (write to this person now) & said simple words of encouragement...but oh, what a difference it made.sometimes heroes come in very unexpected places too. a number of years ago our children had just enrolled in a taekwondo program & their instructor decided (against my better judgment!) that i should enroll too. no amount of the word "no" would do for him & i soon found myself training...much to my surprise & delight. the classes were so much more than something physical or a road to a black belt...they were full of heroes & dear, dear friends for a lifetime.in the course of my training i harboured much self-doubt, but one black belt student seemed tuned into this part of me. chad would come to me during break-out trainings, see just what was wrong with my technique & say just the right thing to help me change. he was forever providing me with 'a-ha' moments & insights into myself that made all the difference. did he need to do this?...no, he was not an instructor; he was 'just' another student, but one who cared.as we were in our last cycle of training to test for our black belts, chad seemed so much more helpful. in the last board-breaking clinic, he took me aside & told me that i was ready. my heart soared! but he also told me one little thing about my breaking technique that he thought would make all the difference between a clean break (& passing the test for my black belt) & no break at all (ie., not passing & no black belt). at that moment i was so intense in my focus with the goal in sight & my attitude was a 'yeah, yeah, ok' dismissal of his concern. then came testing...doing my form (pattern for my belt rank) & sparring other black belts (the judges forgot to take me out of the line-up periodically & i ended up sparring the entire time...whew!!). all went so very well & i was pleased without a sense of concern for the last part~~ board-breaking.chad was not testing for a new rank in that cycle so as a black belt, he was helping the judges & the board holders, but i did not see him when i set up for my first break. it went well on the first attempt & i had one more break to do before my testing was over. i set up my board for what i thought would be an easy break & the end of a phenomenal day...but i didn't break the board! that was my first glitch in the day, however my attitude was still an upbeat, 'oh, well, try again.' no big deal. except...i did not break on the second attempt either. now it was a big deal. i looked around & realized that everyone with whom i had been training was finished & all of them (including my own family) had successfully broken their boards & were (theoretically) now black belts...except me! all my confidence drained away. i turned to my board holders (green belt students who were as scared as i) for my final attempt. in a flash, chad was there, standing behind them. all the din of the room drained away & he looked me square in the eyes...telling me, 'remember what i told you that you must do.' well, i did remember...& i put my foot through that board, out the door & into the parking lot (not really, but i did break that board)!! i still hear his voice when i am faced with seemingly impossible things...ironically both mr. C. & chad died within months of one another, both quite unexpectedly. oh how i miss them, my heroes of ordinary life.but they are not the only ones...last weekend we attended a going-away party for a wonderful friend. the joy of knowing this lovely woman is beyond words. she is an example to my children, one of the best for which i could hope, & someone i consider to be a true hero. she is giving up her cushy life as most of us know it to help those who live in conditions few of us have ever encountered. melissa, our hearts go with you on this journey (& next year, our hands too)...may you be blessed every step of the way!!& what about you...who are your heroes??

6 comments:

Maryann said...

Beautiful post. The members of my family are my heroes, especially my sons :)

luckyblueeyedgirl said...

Boy, did this post bring back the memories! I remember Chad (always thought he looked like Tom Cruise' better looking brother) standing with the board holders. Everything else in that room stood still, except for you in slooooow motion (just like the movies!) and you did put your foot in the parking lot -- I saw it! I always believed the reason you had to spar endlessly was that the judges just enjoyed watching you so darn much (think TAZ in the sparring ring!) Yes, I have seen you chase grown men 3x your size around the ring, you can't deny it! Whew, what a day...
p.s. I wish I'd known Mr. C.

qualcosa di bello said...

maryann...i bet they are!!

blue eyes...don't you dare make me cry! (jeremy should still be afraid...)

qualcosa di bello said...

blue eyes...oh, yeah & there was that hammerfist to chris' head too!!!

luckyblueeyedgirl said...

jeremy is still running and looking over his shoulder every 5 seconds, chris is 2 inches shorter, and you should be in the NBA with that vertical jump capability. (i have snapshots of that day in my head; wish we had digitals, specially of the hammerfist.) never seen ANYTHING like it! :)

Melissa said...

Thank you!! You are too much! I can't wait until you can come to Romania and help with the children. You are a true blessing to me. Praise God that He made our paths cross.