It’s Inspiration Monday, something I really need these days and am looking forward to very much. I’ve made some changes in the concept – from now on Inspiration Monday is every first Monday of the month.
Today’s guest is Light208, a very nice lady who writes at Shadows. She just made some changes on her blog and you should all check it out. She is one of those excellent writers who don’t get all the attention they deserve. I love her writing and you’ll see why she should get more attention right after you read this:
They told me there were no heroes anymore. I was nine years old. I’d grown up with books that told stories of good and brave men who stood up for what they believed in. I’d read of warrior queens and kind hearted rebels. I knew the Drenai better than my peer group and I knew Pern better than the town I grew up in. And then they told me that there were no heroes.
I didn’t understand. Surely there must still be heroes, people who stand for what they believe in, stand for what they feel is right. Cynicism is not something a child should know. There should be wonder and hope and brightness in that child’s world. There should be no soil barren enough to let cynicism take root and grow. I still believe we need tales of heroes. We need to believe that people out there are still good. We need to believe that we have the potential to be great.
It took me a long time to learn that there were still heroes out there. They are often not champions that stories are told about. Songs are not sung in their honour and parades do not march through towns in their name. But these things don’t make heroes. My stepfather is one of my heroes. He accepts me as a daughter and as a friend. He is proud of my achievements and does not deny me my faults. He is tough enough to tell me I am wrong to denounce my father and gentle enough to push me to change. He is someone I want to be like.
I have other heroes; people who for one reason of other have inspired me. When I had my first interview for a job, I was asked to name someone that inspired me and to explain why. The two men interviewing me seemed nonplussed when I replied with “a man named Kevin”. I had met Kevin while doing some work for the National Trust. Even with gaps of a year or so between visits, he remembered my name and conversations we’d had. He took great joy in his job and was truly happy with what he was doing with his life.
By my own adult terms, the money he made was minimal and yet for him, the money didn’t seem to matter. He lived on a houseboat in the middle of a National Trust site and saw things that some people only dream about. And yet he loved sharing his joy with others. I never saw him have a bad day no matter how hard people tried his patience. He never denied sadness; he just believed that it had its own place, in his heart, where the joy he lived with could help to heal it. Sometimes I wonder about going back there to see if he is still about. I wonder if my often jaded adult eyes would see the same passionate free spirit and whether there would still be that sense of kinship. Perhaps such stories and memories are best left whole so that their warming glow does not fade, but continues to inspire as time continues to tick round.
I am inspired by a friend’s bravery at leaving behind everything she knew to pursue a dream in a foreign country. No matter how tough things got, she didn’t quit. And she was honest about the difficulties. She didn’t gloss over them and suggest that everything had gone smoothly. She told of her trials with honesty and integrity and left me with the belief that perhaps one day I would be as bold as she is.
And I am inspired by other bloggers; people I don’t even know that encourage me with their positivity, their honesty and their courage. These people share their words and their dreams and forge connections across all boundaries.
I don’t always find the stories that I read those years ago as moving as I once did; like many adults before me, I have learnt to see the shades of grey between the definites of black and white. My heroes, like the rest of us, are flawed. But they are heroes because of their flaws. They fight for what they believe in, sometimes against their own natures. They breathe and they bleed and they inspire me because they try. They show me that trying counts; that the first step towards being someone better is being prepared to try and be someone better. There are so few easy answers anymore and I need examples in my life to emulate. I need, sometimes, to see my potential in others because there are times that I do not see it in myself.