New Castle News

Lisa Madras

May 19, 2014

Lisa Madras: We can all add a little extra to our ordinary

NEW CASTLE — What makes someone a hero?

It can be difficult to put a hard-and-fast definition on what makes someone a hero. One of the problems we have (in our society, at least) is that the term "hero" is used loosely to describe anyone we happen to look up to. We have military heroes, sports heroes, even super heroes.

I always wanted to be a literary hero, myself. I wanted to write something that was going to change the world, to make people think differently about some type of injustice, change their ways, and BAM! The world is a better place, and I'm the catalyst that made it that way. It's hard to believe that I'll be ending my somewhat-semi-professional career as writer in just 10 short weeks. I have to tell myself that if I didn't have the rest of my world to contend with — things like paying bills and feeding my kids — that I would have done something significant with that by now.

But would even that make me a hero? I don't honestly think so, not if I look deep down inside myself. Heroes don't expect accolades, and there's no way on God's green earth I'd ever write something without demanding a byline. I probably wouldn't do it for free, either, what with all that nasty having-to-pay-bills stuff and all.  

I do like to think that the things I write help people in some way. I have this fantasy scenario inside my head where someone reads my blog and it changes their life. Like maybe they never thought about something the way I presented it, and suddenly their world is a better place. I'll never really know, though, and there's actually a term for that: heroic imagination. The truth is that most acts of heroism are dependent on having someone to perform your heroic acts upon. True heroism requires being in the right place at the right time in the right circumstances.

I think that has a lot to do with why I've decided to become a nurse. I'm never going to be a real hero sitting behind a computer monitor. I need to put myself in a place where I have the constant potential to ease someone's suffering, or at the very least make their world just a tiny bit better. I knew that when I was little, too, because in my elementary school memories book, I wrote that I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up — every single year.

I'm not sure how I lost my way as the years passed. I'm still the same person (for all intents and purposes, anyhow) that I was when I was a child.  If I'm going to be honest, I think what I did was choose the easy path instead of the right one, despite inherently knowing what my chosen path was meant to be.No sweat, though. It happens to the best of us, and it's never too late to steer the ship in the right direction.

We all have a hero inside of us. Every single one of us. Whether or not we choose to bring that hero out to share with the world depends on quite a few things — being in the right place at the right time is one of those things. But so is making a conscious decision to listen to that little voice that whispered our ears in the years before we became content with words like "simple" and "easy."

I'm never going to be everybody's hero. I'll never be asked for an autograph, or be hounded by the paparazzi, or make enough money to have my own line of athletic shoes. I'm an ordinary person. But I'm an ordinary person with the tools and the will to do extraordinary things. And hopefully, to my future patients, I'll be the hero they happen to need at the moment. And what more could I really ask for?

Let's all take a moment and listen to that little voice that we forgot about so long ago. Let's try to remember that "hero" is a verb, not a noun.

And then go out and hero, people. If enough of us do it, we just might save the world.

 

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Lisa Madras
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