Orange County has a new hero. Bruno, a German Shepherd police dog, was shot on Friday during a SWAT operation. The bullet struck him in the jaw and traveled into his chest. After a lengthy surgery where his jaw was rebuilt and part of his lung removed, he is expected to make full recovery. His bravery saved the lives of several police officers.
Not all acts of heroism need to save a life in order to be defined as brave or courageous. A modern day hero is a person who helps those in need. A real hero gives selflessly of his time, money and energy for the good of others without asking for anything in return and, when offered, turns it down. There are many people, who in a variety of ways, come into our lives and softly, quietly improve them and in the process make us better people. They act without any acclaim or applause, but show compassion, generosity and kindness.
We think of heroes as doing something on a grand scale, but everyday heroes find a way to make this world a better place one person at a time. They don’t wait until they are perfect, they simply get on to doing amazing things. John Ortberg wrote, “If you wait until you are ready, you wait forever. God uses not-ready people.”
There are heroes in my life I’ve never met. Mother Teresa, Corrie ten Boom, Eleanor Roosevelt, Neil Armstrong. There are also larger than life heroes I have met: Colin Powell, Rick Stearns, Max Lucado, Patrick Lenconi. Today, though, I’d like to say thank you to those kind individuals who acted with compassion towards me in my times of need. The friends who showed up unexpectedly at my father’s wake, the teacher who let me cry in her arms after a breakup with a boyfriend, the coworker who gave me a spectacular reference, the gals in my writer’s group who have spent so much time making me a better communicator. There are way too many to list here, but without them I would be a sorry individual. You are my heroes! Thank you so much for all you did when I needed you most.
This, then is a call to action, not only for you, but for myself. When the opportunity comes to help someone, show someone a kindness, offer someone help, don’t hesitate. Just do it, as the motto states. You may never be heralded as a hero on television like Bruno was, but you will make every bit of a difference in someone’s life.
Mother Teresa famously said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” So, let’s get on with it! Make today a turning point. Seek out opportunities to spread love and kindness softly and quietly throughout your day. The world will be a much better place when you do.