Lori Greiner of the ABC hit show Shark Tank, states that she can spot it instantly: a hero or a zero. Greiner is an entrepeneur and visionary, able to do what most cannot- deduce quality at a mere glance. Longevity and quality, Greiner would maintain, stand out to her.
And so it was when I met my husband. Sitting in the class at our church that Sunday morning, I glanced around the room and my vision locked in on him. Kindness, was the first thought. Gentleness, the second. My college-honed eyes were accustomed to weighing guys in the balance. Nope, not for me, was the regular inward refrain.
Until that Sunday. The day that changed his life, and mine.
Twelve years have since have come and gone, and with them stretched skin and shadows and lines around our eyes. Our life together shows itself, and not all of the lines are from laughter.
What Makes a Hero, Anyway?
The past dozen years have also displayed that I made the right assessment, and that he is indeed, a hero. Not the kind of hero my toddler still believes exists. But the kind that flies below the radar of recognized greatness, quietly owning his obligations. To borrow the words Aunt May spoke to Peter Parker’s Spiderman: With great power, comes great responsibility. And it is in his exercise of responsible leading, my husband has become ever admirable to me.
Let me show you what ordinary heroism has looked like to a Mom with a handful of small children:
- Committing to vows which defend, guard and maintain a marriage
- Standing beside a hospital bed, gently coaching our little ones into the world.
- Staying up long nights, to share the challenge of months of broken sleep.
- Focusing on his life at work, so that he performs not one role, but two. And well.
- Noting the discouragement of an overburdened wife, and encouraging her to continue on, because it matters.
- Defending the values of our home, so that our family is protected and bettered.
And in all of this, exercising patience and mercy. If your husband does any or all of these things, you have a good man on your hands.
The Heroism of Ordinary
In many ways, it would be easier for my husband or yours, to be the kind of hero our media- minds are accustomed to. The kind that bursts into life at terrifying moments- saving, rescuing, solving. And is then whisked away until the next time he is needed. Ultimately, that would be more exciting.
But instead, he vows his faith and single-minded commitment to each day. Always waking to greet his responsibilities. Always going to sleep when they have been met. There is very little excitement and to be honest, not enough praise. And this is where his ordinariness plants him in a category reserved for those brave enough to face the same old with grace and love and determination.
Hebrews refers to the ordinary as something far greater than we make it. By faith Abraham, Isaac, David and the prophets lived. By faith they persevered. And by faith, they attained the crown of righteousness. Simple men living ordinary lives, yet by faith. God calls these men out as worthy of notice and praise, and we should do no less.
Your ordinary man is gifted by God to do what he does best – to live by faith, and through that example to inspire faith for future generations. It takes grit. It takes resolve.
And in that daily and determined expression, lives a quiet but inspiring heroism.