I cannot imagine a world without heroes, a world without genius and nobility, without exalted enterprise, high purpose, and transcendent courage, without risk and suffering. It would be gray and flat and dull. Who would show us the way or set the mark? Who would inspire us and console us? Who would energize us and keep us from the darkness? -Peter Gibbon, A Call to Heroism
Growing up I had several role models, and sadly not all turn out to be as great as I once thought them to be. I remember as a young girl trying to emulate other women of good and reputable character, and often asking them for advice. I was like a sponge; soaking up every word, mannerism, and the characteristics I found fascinating about them. Later, in my teen years, I began to see a pattern forming in my selection of role models; they were mostly men. I cannot say why, but perhaps this is due to having such a good relationship with my own dad. Although, when I was a young girl, he was not necessarily available every time I needed him, or a perfect father figure, and even thought I often felt alone and intimidated by him, when my father became a believer all that changed dramatically. My father became more present, more involved in all areas of our lives, and he became softer, somehow. It’s strange, I never noticed what an impact his transformation had in me until I became a grown up myself.
By then, I had developed my own personality, and formed my own character, with my own set of believes and moral standards. Some parts of who I am today, I can definitely say I owe to him. Even now, four years after his passing, I’m still discovering more ways in which I take after him. Sometimes it is annoying to no end, and other times, inspiring and surreal. I miss him. I miss calling him up to ask for advice, and listening to his wisdom in different areas of leadership and spirituality. I miss his encouraging support of my crazy ideas, dreams, and vision for the future. He was probably my biggest fan. Since he departed, I often think about him. This week in particular I have been thinking about him because we just celebrated the fourth anniversary of his passing. I have thought about him as I look at my marriage, and the relationship I have with my adoring husband.
Brian and I have been married for twenty-four years; in August it will be twenty-five years! Sometimes, I cannot believe we have been together that long, and other times I catch myself wishing, and hoping we could live several lifetimes together as lovers, because we get along so well, and love each other well. My parents did not have a perfect marriage, but they fought hard to stay together, even through my father’s illness. I see many similarities between my marriage and theirs now. I see how my mother served my father, with sacrificial love. I do the same for Brian, as he does for me. My father was always the brain, and my mother the voice of reason. She was the one who would carry out his wishes, and helped enhance his vision, and his dreams with focused dedication. My father knew his biggest supporter was his wife-he never had to doubt that. Brian and I behave a lot like that. The dynamic is very interesting to me now, as I observe my current health condition, and how it has impacted my entire family, especially him.
I have always talked about my father as being my hero. He truly was my hero in many ways. Today, I find Brian has become the wind that helps me to continue moving forward. The future continues to look uncertain for us, as far as my prognosis, however, I find much peace in who we are together. I like that we fight hard for what we believe in. I see his character shining through the challenges that come with having to care for a sick wife, while maintaining a full-time job, ministry, and still care about our sons’ futures. It takes more than a good heart; it takes dedication, and determination to stay, when running away seems much easier. I find that the best role models out there are the ones that don’t have to try hard at being good, or at being transparent. With Brian, what you see is what you get, and he makes no excuses about the man he is, or his weaknesses. I love that about him. He is committed in ways that leave me speechless at times. I know I am blessed beyond what I deserve.
When my father passed away, I thought my world would lose its color, yet Brian has painted a rainbow of hope for me during the toughest test we have ever encountered. He reminds me over and over again that I don’t have to imagine a world without heroes. He shows me a world of transcendent courage, purpose, and relentless hope. My world still has a hero, and I am thankful that I don’t have to look too far to find him.