A Cast of Heroes…


Back in the summer of 2006, Judith and I attended a party with the theme “Heroes.”  All the guests were invited to share aloud some thoughts on a person who was/is a hero to them.  I couldn’t narrow my choices down to one, so I wrote a poem lauding a variety of unsung heroes.  Not those who serve in the military or in fire and police departments, though they certainly merit hero status for the ways they put their lives on the line.  Not the celebrities and athletes who so often get accorded hero status, though they most times do not deserve it (in my ever so humble opinion).   But the truly unsung heroes, so many of whom point in their own ways to how I understand what it means to serve a scarred God.  So, without further ado:

A poem by Aaron Fulp-Eickstaedt
July 29th, 2006

Oh, now and then I find I stop to ponder
The ones I most admire in life and why
And when I do, my heart is filled with wonder
For what these heroes mean to such as I

I think, for instance, of the single mother
Whose path through life is not one I would choose
Who struggles daily with a host of setbacks
And wonders when they’ll say, “She’s paid her dues.”
She works and prays and stays and loves her children
When giving up seems easier to do
With each new day it seems there are fresh problems
And yet she finds the strength to rise anew.

Beside this woman let me add a number
Of other heroes, future, present, past
The ones whose love will lead them into service
The ones whose lives made marks that really last
The ones whose hope shows forth in actions taken
The ones who keep their word and hold it fast
The ones who daily give of self for others
These are the people in my hero cast.

That young black male seemed bound to be a gangster
And yet he daily makes the choice to live
In hope and love that honor his Creator
And honor, too, what he himself can give.

He’s a hero.  But let me list some others
The teacher opening minds to learning truth
The hardy volunteers in countless shelters
The one who gives her time to troubled youth

The small town Georgia newsman in the ‘Thirties
In print condemning lynchings in his town
Ignoring the sheriff’s attempts to hush him
His sense of right would not let him back down

The southern preachers standing up for justice
Speaking out though to do so cost a lot
The Freedom Riders marching down in Selma
Politicians whose votes could not be bought 
The legislators changing unjust statutes
And trying to establish loving laws
The leaders who work hard to serve the people
Not trying to pretend they have no flaws

The judges who love mercy more than vengeance
All those who sacrifice to serve the poor
The lawyers who defend the poor defenseless
Warm hosts who welcome strangers through their door

The person who’s been hurt by life’s misfortune
Who grieves, then dusts herself off with a smile
To continue loving with abandon
Embracing life and others all the while

The widow in the temple with her two pence
The giver who is not afraid to lose
The folks who took a stand in Hitler’s Europe
The righteous Gentiles shelt’ring threatened Jews

The C.N.A. who works for next to nothing
Who cares and empties bedpans for the old
And in the process treating them with kindness
Despite the fact her worth is undersold

The faithful spouse whose partner’s mind is going
Who does her best to care for him each day
The folks who face tomorrow without knowing
But boldly push ahead along the way

The person who will take the time to listen
Instead of merely jumping in to speak
The aching ones who set aside complaining
To bring cheer to other lives that seem so bleak

The ones who visit sick folks and the dying
The tutor teaching grown ups up how to read
Those who will sit beside you when you’re crying
The one who learns from failure how to lead

The kind who boldly pray and work for justice
The people doing things that make for peace
The injured who forgive the ones who’ve hurt them
The ones who strive for days when wars will cease

These heroes I have brought to your attention
I trust you find them worthy of our praise
Oh there are many others I could mention
Who in their brave and compassionate ways
Live lives of quiet, heroic import
They all show us something of how to spend days
That matter to others, who then might report
That we have been heroes in their hero cast
Whether in present, or future, or past.


Aside | This entry was posted in Thoughts & Reflections. Bookmark the permalink.

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