On Heroes

Joseph Campbell once said, “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”

It is a form of self-transcendence. And it is a form of grace. Grace, it seems to me, is what is most needed in times of catastrophe. It is doing what is hard, sometimes going against the grain, and sometimes standing alone with only your beliefs and values to support you.

If I speak in a broad sense, my heroes are those people who exemplify not just the best part of humanity, but rather the most honest. The ones who fail, make mistakes, are imperfect, and yet march forward anyway, always a sense of purpose in everything they do.

There are three specific people who come to mind, and they are not people I knew well at the time. In fact, I didn’t see any of their heroic acts coming. But that is also what made them heroic to me. Because none of them knew me at the time. However, they saw my situation, much like a person notices a call to action that is not spoken, but implied.

Some people will walk by, and some cannot bear to. These were the people who restored my hope in humanity at a time when it was most needed, and most appreciated.

To them, it was simply what needed to be done. To me, it was everything.


— Claire Nana, M.A.

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