Knowing the signs of a hero is important because when a masked man wearing underwear over his clothes comes running up to you, it is important to tell the difference between him, and the most recent escapee from the loony bin.
Of course, not all heroes wear their underwear over their clothes, some wear it under their clothes, like my brother, Scott, who can make a person laugh faster than a speeding bullet, and take the sting out of life's disappointments with some well thought words of kindness.
Then there's my friend, Clover. She is the most fashionable hero I know, but she isn't a hero because she is a fashionista. She is a hero because she can make the sun shine in the midst of any personal darkness. She can peel back the brown and spotted outer layer of a situation, person or thought and cast it aside like a bruised banana skin, so that all you have left is the creamy perfect fruit underneath; and that takes superpowers.
There are dozens of other heroes I know personally. They lift the hands that hang down, comfort, cheer, mourn with, and love others through their perfect amazing grace.
I've long since believed that there are three types of people: victims, survivors, and heroes. Victims are those who have taken life's lessons and turned themselves into the martyr of their own stories; nothing goes right for them and nothing ever can. Their thoughts have bound them in a jail of unbelief stronger than any bars ever could.
Survivors have taken life's experiences and they have surmounted them just high enough to breathe. They are (in their own words) "Just getting by." They feel that there is never enough money, time, energy, joy, hope or love, in spite of the fact that the Universe's abundance is knocking on their door with the persistence of two nineteen-year-old Mormon missionaries.
Heroes are people who have not only broken their heads above circumstance, but have taken life's experiences and turned them into opportunities to learn, grow, and find more love. They hear the knocking at the door, and rush to it, barrel past the threshold and seize the abundance that awaits. They fly high, contemplate opportunities, consider others, and lift those around them to higher ground.
Knowing the signs of a hero is important to our happiness and well being here on earth. Heroes shape us for good. Heroes show us the way to hope. Heroes lift, encourage, and love--and here is the interesting thing: all of us have been victims, survivors and heroes during the journey. The question is: if we find ourselves a victim or "just getting by", how long we are going to spend in the vat of toxic waste before we decide to get out?
Who is your hero?