Musings of an Italian-American Catholic wife, mother, and writer

Musings of an Italian-American Catholic wife, mother, and writer

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hero Worship ... What Not to Admire

 
We are all ordinary. We are all boring. We are all spectacular. We are all shy. We are all bold. We are all heroes. We are all helpless. It just depends on the day.
~Brad Meltzer, author of Heroes for My Son

Perhaps it’s because I am all too aware of my own imperfections that I am very cautious about putting someone on a pedestal. To be sure, there are people I admire and respect, but there's a difference between admiring someone and thinking they hang the moon.
I am bothered by the fact that many times people are held in high esteem for no other reason other than they can throw a football, or look pretty on television, or lose weight, or make multi-million dollar deals. And I am bothered at how willing some of us are to look up to someone who is, when it comes down to it, very human.
When you cross the line into hero worship, you are basically setting yourself up to be less than that person . . . which is almost like saying God (who made us in his image) somehow made a mistake in how he made you.
I once accompanied a group of local doctors to Haiti for a 10-day mission trip. Part of that experience included a lot of rough travel, the most grueling of which was a 14-hour truck ride through mountains, desert and jungle until we reached the small village of Jean-Rabel.
During that long, long trip I was surrounded by doctors and missionaries who spent that time talking. One discussion involved the misdirection of youth, and a young missionary made a comment that the distractions offered by today's society were nothing more than a substitute for the Holy Spirit.
Oh, brother! I remember thinking.
But over time I’ve come to realize what she was trying to say. There’s nothing wrong with getting excited during a rock concert, or cheering a star athlete, or looking up to someone, or recognizing them as a leader.
The problem occurs when we lose sight of the First Commandment and lay those feelings of enthusiasm, admiration and even hope at the feet of someone who is merely human.
The problem occurs when we measure our own self-worth by human rather than spiritual standards.
The problem occurs when we don't see the value in  those around us (teammates, co-workers, family members) because we are so blinded by the star quality of one individual.
I am grateful that the world is full of many wonderful people -- people I admire and respect and who inspire me to be a better person. But putting them on a pedestal?
I know of only One who can hang the moon.
 
*This post was originally written here, but I decided to re-post it in light of the Lance Armstrong scandal, the political atmosphere, and life in general ...

4 comments:

Miss Stewart and Students said...

"I'm giving my life to the only one who makes the moon reflect the sun..."

Lovely idea to repost this.

tiziana said...

Quanto sono vere le tue parole. Tutti noi abbiamo degli eroi, dei miti e facciamo fatica a credere che siano solo dei "poveri" umani come noi, con difetti e debolezze. Per i classici l'eroe era un semidio dotato di virtù eccezionali, autore di grandi gesta. Per la nostra nonna, invece, i veri eroi sono stati i suoi genitori che, nonostante non fossero ricchi, lavoravano duramente, senza acqua corrente, riscaldamento, luce, frigrifero, lavatrice, lavastioviglie, ferro elettrico per stirare, macchina, televisione ecc..ecc..ecc.. e sono riusciti ad allevare i loro 4 figli in serenità, allegria e nella fede. La nonna ricordava sempre i tempi della sua giovinezza come i più belli della sua vita. Diceva sempre:" Certo eravamo poveri, ma quanto ci siamo divertiti a correre nei campi, a parlare e cantare nella stalla (il posto più caldo), ad apprezzare le cose più semplici." I veri eroi sono quelli che nel silenzio aiutano gli altri e forse solo loro possono aiutare Dio "to hang the moon".

Jennifer said...

A more timely post you could not find! The celebrity culture has just gotten out of hand, the men who succeed on the sports field and have zero human qualities off pitch are what everybody looks up to. It's an extra challenge to point out real role models to teens. It's like living in a different culture.

:o) mg said...

I guess this would be a bad time to mention that I had you atop a pedistal, huh?