Following a Hero?


I want to talk about the concepts of heroes, saints, and prophets. You know, folks like Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jesus Christ.

It seems people find figures such as these kind of intimidating – they’ve taken such powerful or extreme measures in following what I’d describe as the “spirit of love” – that the rest of us have a hard time seeing even a possibility of really imitating them.

Last night I had a conversation about having a vision for one’s life – it can be difficult to decide what to do when you don’t know what you really want with your life. Let me suggest that the following is possible for you, and invite you to try it out:

Think about someone who strikes you as a hero – it could be Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Paul Farmer, etc. Pick something about them that you like, something that they did, and don’t be afraid to be a total copycat. I don’t mean that you should take something out of context and copy that, but, for example, there are still plenty of orphans in India and yes, it’s possible to just pick yourself up and go help out there!

For myself, I haven’t really structured my life around just one admirable person, it’s more that I’ve heard stories of a lot of different people doing amazing work, and tried to imitate it. But let me take the example of Paul Farmer – what inspired me is that he seems to have decided that pretty nearly 100% of his time is going to be devoted to helping poor people in countries like Haiti to be healthy. He found it upsetting that their lives were being devastated by illnesses that are completely treatable – and rather than worrying that the problem was too big or that he wasn’t a big enough person to make a difference, he just decided to get to work on the problem. Although I don’t wan’t to work in the medical field, maybe you can see how I don’t entirely need a vision for my life that comes from myself – I can just plagiarize Paul Farmer’s vision!

Don’t wait for a guarantee that you’ll succeed as much as Gandhi did, before you start trying. Gandhi, Mother Teresa, etc, were just regular folks who didn’t worry too much about what might not be possible, rather, they figured now is as good a time as any time, to, um, start a journey of a thousand miles with a single step.

Can you live up to the example of Mother Teresa? Let me invite you to leave that question for later, and to start with a small step in that direction. Just see where it leads you.