Want to feel good? Try being a hero

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Posted 9/19/17 (Tue)

By John M. Andrist

With only a modest amount of fanfare, Americans set a new record last week.
Never in history have so many of us done so much or contributed so generously to help others in need. The trigger, of course, was those two hurricanes.
Think about it for a moment and take some time to meditate about the triumphal side of those tragedies.
For Texans and Floridians, and residents of Caribbean islands, much of what has been given has been downright heroic.
Thousands of electrical workers have flooded Florida to assist in getting the power restored. Just about everyone is throwing in some money or food or clothing or sweat equity, or planning to do so.
Even those nasty, nameless corporations have played an enormous part, helping or supporting the effort of their workers to help where needed.
Children have created benefit lemonade stands. A home for troubled youth on St. Thomas released their boys to assist in evacuating the next door nursing home folks.
The list goes on and on.
We human animals who spend most of our lives in self-serving pursuit suddenly were transformed into people focused on rescuing, serving and caring for others.
It was such a spontaneous, universal outpour of caring that no group had time to initiate looting or form a protest!
When news media tried to give recognition to someone or some group to give face to our heroic stories, all you heard was 17 ways of saying, “Shucks, it was the least I could do!” 
The most interesting thing about heroes is they never seem to think they have done anything special. Last week we had millions of those kind of heroes.
There is a very fuzzy feeling to be made aware somebody regards you as a hero.
I played some varsity basketball in my high school years, but was small and not particularly good. Yet, I still remember the name of the young boy who proclaimed I was the greatest. My, how it bolstered my self-esteem.
My youngest daughter’s career has been working with music and children. She is still a hero to numerous adults who remember what she did for them when they were kids.
Every good teacher and every caring nurse is a hero, probably multiple times over. I didn’t have all that many teaching heroes, but I fell in love with every hospital nurse who cared for me.
I had a number of heroes in my home community -- Andy Ingwalson, Newman Power, John Fosland, Norm Anderson, Jerry Carlson, Del Ekness. And that’s just a beginning.
I don’t think about it very often, but when I do I wonder if I properly told them or showed them the way I felt.
Finding and recognizing the heroes in our lives deserves to have some proclamation within the context of our interactions, which all too often are negative complaints that neither lift or lower.
Truth be told, our heroes do have faults and failings, just as the worst among us have some virtues.
But getting back to the millions of everyday heroes from the hurricanes, isn’t it a wonderful feeling getting caught doing something kind and thoughtful?
Almost as good as not getting caught doing something we knew we should not have done.
It almost makes you want to go out and do something that will make you somebody’s special hero.
The simple truth, which is somewhat puzzling about our human condition, is that the best of times often bring out the worst in us, while almost always the worst of times bring out the best in us.