Stories about amazing people doing amazing things can be so inspiring! We hear often about firefighters or police officers that risk their lives to save people. We hear about couples who have fostered or adopted dozens of older or disabled children, thus changing their lives and building a loving family. We hear about anonymous strangers who drop silver coins into the Salvation Army buckets at Christmas or others who leave extra generous tips for their waitress.
These stories inspire us and hopefully invoke in us a like-spirit of generosity and kindness.
The heroes and do-gooders in the above examples would likely say, “I was just doing my job” or “I just did what anyone else would have done.” Of course we know that isn’t true, not everyone in our sometimes scary world would stick their neck out for someone else.
A humble hero is the best kind. I love hearing about these humble heroes being rewarded and recognized, almost more than hearing about the initial good deed itself.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show does a great job of thanking people who have done great things. She invites them to her show, interviews them, and then surprises them with amazing gifts, everything from family trips, to cars, and money. The heroes never acted the way they did in hopes of getting a car from Ellen. Sometimes the payment seems so material (or immaterial) compared to the amazing act of bravery/kindness the person showed, but it is at least a small, well-deserved recognition and thank you. And, it usually genuinely helps the hero (i.e. huge family gets the van they could never afford; firefighter takes his family on an amazing trip his salary wouldn’t have allowed for, etc.). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying let’s all go out and do amazing things, so we can get on Ellen!
True good deeds are done without thinking about any potential reward or recognition.
To all of the extraordinary, humble heroes out there, thank you for going above and beyond!
After watching one of those shows, and after I dry my flubbering, blubbering tears, I usually can’t help but think of another huge group of people deserving of thanks. I call these people the “ordinarily extraordinary.” Ordinarily extraordinary people are people who will likely never be recognized for “heroic” deeds, but still, they are making a difference. Likely, someone, somewhere, considers them their hero.
Who is ordinarily extraordinary?
I’m talking about the mom who works all day and then despite her exhaustion, goes home and gives her best self to her children and/or spouse.
I’m talking about the stay-at-home mom who wears herself out all day with domestic duties, but she still manages to make it a priority to laugh and play and read to her children.
I’m talking about the father who worries about the balance between spending time with his family and providing for his family. Sometimes he works late, but more times he “shows up.” He is super-dad.
I’m talking about the friend who is busy raising her own family, but somehow manages to send a card when you’ve had something sad (or happy) happen.
I’m talking about the neighbor that brings you over baked goods, just because.
I’m talking about any parents, that are patient with their children 95% of the time and when they lose patience that 5%, they commit to try better next time and teach their children the power of, “I’m sorry.”
Really, I’m talking about anyone that is striving to be Christ-like.
We are busy; our lives are full. But it is ordinarily extraordinary if while we are wading through the busyness, we aspire to show generosity, love fully, and are thoughtful to the people in our lives.
Who is ordinarily extraordinary?
Probably your mom, dad, spouse, kids, friend, neighbor, random person you meet that treats you with kindness and respect…
Being ordinarily extraordinary doesn’t make someone ordinary; it makes them extraordinary; it makes them a hero, but in quieter, simpler ways than the “normal” heroes we hear about in the news. Being ordinarily extraordinary makes a difference in people’s lives.
You may not be able to thank you ordinarily extraordinary heroes with lavish gifts like Ellen, but let’s challenge ourselves this week to recognize and remember our heroes in smaller ways:
- Write a grandma or friend a note letting them know how much you appreciate them.
- Surprise someone with fresh baked cookies or a home-cooked meal.
- Text or email someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.
- Leave an extra generous tip at a restaurant.
- Send a blog friend a note of support.
- Hold a door, offer a smile, say thank you…just do something ordinarily extraordinary.
You may not be a grand hero as society defines a hero, but know to someone, you are extraordinary. To someone you are a hero.