Christmas has come and gone, and left me sick in bed. :( Thank God I got through Christmas before I went under, but now I am spending a good deal of time in bed.
My brother and I received Thor, Captain America, and the Avengers for Christmas on DVD, and since he is sick as well, we broke in the new movies in style in our pajamas on laptops. I don't care who you are, or where you are from, that is an awesome gift. :)
As you all should know by now, I love heroic movies of all types and varieties, whether the hero is waving a sword or a six-shooter, or anything in-between. Hammers included.
Watching the Marvel movies recently has made me realize something that I hadn't seen before. My mom had hinted at it, and kinda eluded to it, but it hadn't quite clicked in my mind till now.
Guys are meant to be heroes, and anybody who thinks otherwise has never seen a two year old with a stick in the backyard. At the age ripe old age of two, he will bash the brains out of every villainous bush in sight, wade through G.I. Joe strewn terrain, all to save his sister from that menacing bee hovering slightly too close for the poor damsels comfort.
It's built into guys to want to be the hero, save the day, rescue the maiden, and then be respected and honored for it. There is a reason the Marvel movies have had such a massive success in today's culture. Effeminate guys who couldn't bench 20 are desperate to fill that hero in them just trying to leak out, but the feminized world keeps stuffing it back in every time it's facial hair and muscles give a show around the corner.
Sorry, that feminism stuff was a side rant. Moving on.
So it's built into guys to want to be heroes, but I am finding that I can get a bit discouraged and discontent sometimes, after watching heroic movies, or reading epic stories of gallant men, hair-breadth escapes, and ending the whole tale with a dashing rescue of the damsel in distress, usually accompanied by the death of some fearsome beast.
Because, honestly, none of that stuff happens in real life.
Aliens don't attack New York, thus demanding people in cool suits and smashing weapons to come save the day. It looks so smashing (litterally) to beat them up with a shield and a hammer.
The lady doesn't ever get captured, and dragons seemed to have died out ages ago. Shouldn't somebody have told those knights to save a few for guys down the line?
You never get cornered by a ruthless pack of men wielding knives and black mustaches, forcing you to defend your life (or even better - your wife) from overwhelming odds. Last stands are so epic.
That bump in the night wasn't an armed robbery waiting to be averted - it was the dog dreaming about chasing the cat again. Those new hollow-points will have to wait.
You never find a treasure chest in you back yard, or find a secret compartment in the barn with a cryptic clue, leading you on a wild goose chase with gold or fortune at the end of the trail, the path woven with crooks and villains after the same treasure and willing to do very un-gentlemanly things to get it.
You don't get a chance to sail to South America and find all the adventure you had ever dreamed about in treasure hunts in Brazil, sword fights with Pirates, battles with toothsome crocodiles, and long hikes across breathtaking scenery.
Face it - none of that happens in real life.
Life involves barn chores, brainless goats, sick people, moping floors, muddy boots, junk mail, loads of laundry waiting to be dealt with, and dirty dishes starting to resemble those mountains of Peru you keep reading about.
Adventures don't really come knocking on your door. They just don't.
I read all the epic stories, I watch all the epic movies, listen to all the epic music, then walk away and go back to my normal life, wondering why my life can't be that way.
Girls, you aren't off the hook either.
The stories all have the guys come riding in on a horse - or flying in with a red cape - to save the maiden from sudden death, or something as equally terrible. The man is always there, whisking you off into the sunset, one arm around the girl, the other holding onto the rope he is hanging by as he swings across the canyon. You girls are made to be loved, and to look up to a certain somebody in your life as your hero, as your knight in skiny armor, there to battle the villains in your life for you. Where the heck did he go?
And I can imagine you get a bit discouraged and discontent as well. Why don't more guys go around in tights with shields?
We all live in the plain, ordinary world, where things are....well.... plain and ordinary. Guys don't have epic battles with winged vermin, and girls don't have dashing gents to whisk them away.
We have grocery shopping, piano lessons, putting in overtime at work, dead cell phone batteries, taxes, sick animals, and feed bills. The list of unadventurous and unexciting things that our lives consist of is tremendous, and this list of exciting things that actually happens is limited to the water-heater breaking in the middle of that nice hot shower.
So what happened to guys being made to be heroes? What happened to girls needing to be rescued? Sure, in the old days ordinary people had loads of adventures, battling Indians on the Oregon trail, fighting starvation in the dead of a Kansas winter when there is six feet of snow on the ground, and the like. We can list out all the good times people had braving the brave new world as they explored, plowed, and made the world we are in now. But that was then - the list of adventures waiting to be had in our present day and age seems to have grown thin.
So what now? So we blow everything up and start from scratch? Or we all move to South America and Africa, and start up homesteading there? A good dose of Safari aught to fill your adventure meter.
Are we as boys doomed to a non-adventurous life? Are all the ladies fated to sit on the front porch and watch the sunset without a horseman to whisk them away into it?
Hardly, I think. We are just looking the wrong way. I am finding I have to constantly readjust my focus and mindset from shields and swords to.... well, I'll get there in a moment.
As guys, we ten to think heroics can only be accomplished by wielding a weapon and defending the helpless against overwhelming odds. Girls tend to think heroes are tall, strikingly handsome, and wear either armor or designer tights.
We should think again.
Full Definition of HERO
a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent
a : the principal male character in a literary or dramatic workb : the central figure in an event, period, or movement
plural usually he·ros : submarine 2
: an object of extreme admiration and devotion :
Ok, so half of that definition we already knew - brave guy, saving the world from aliens. Or something similar.
The other half tends to get kinda left out.
Showing great courage isn't limited to charging headlong at a line of spearmen - what about facing off that foul-mouthed uncle at a family party? Courage isn't be fearless - it's being scared and not letting your fear stop you.
Guys, being heroic can mean merely opening the door for a lady, merely mopping up the kitchen when your mom is sick - little things. Little acts of heroism that go unnoticed are often times the greatest heroics of all. Most guys will take on twelve armed thugs - with his bare hands if need be - if his wife is in their custody. Not many guys will go in and clean the entire kitchen because their wife has a nasty headache and is laying down. Any guy will take a bullet for his girl - it takes a real man to make that late-night run to the store - in your pajamas and slippers - because the kids are sick and the wife needs more chicken soup.
Gents, that's heroics.
We tend to think heroics are only heroics if they help change the world.
The world is made and shaped by thousands of tiny actions by every person, every day. By doing those small things, you really, legitimately, are changing the world. Granted, there isn't the glitz and glam accompanying mopping as usually follows an epic sword fight, but mopping is just as important.
You want to be a hero? Obey your parents in the little things, don't argue back, fetch your mom that glass of water, hold the door for that lady, carry the heavy things to the car..... you know the list. It's ingrained into every guy to do those things, to help and be the hero, just sometimes it needs training and tempering to bring it out, and to squash down the mangy head of selfishness that too often appears on the scene instead.
Gals, the same goes for you, just in different ways.
Your hero might not be six feet tall, have long blonde hair, and tote a hammer, but thank your little brother for being that hero when he fetches you the broom, or squashes that spider into the carpet you just cleaned. Thank him for it all - it will mean the world to him, and will also inspire him to do similar things again.
So Gals, be content with the heroes you have. God has given you all the heroes you need.
So guys, start looking for those little ways to be heroic. It doesn't have to involve killing things, really. It can just be setting the table for your mom. In fact, whenever you did something right, did something kind, did something just, did something loving - you were a hero. This world is sorely needing people to do things like that, and the more you do it, the more you change the world.
Girls, be content with the little heroics around you. That guy who let you go first at the stop sign was giving you quite the favor. Learn to spot those small hero-isms, and be grateful for those small things.
Because it's those small things, guys and girls, that really make the difference. It's those little things, that are really heroic.
A cape is just icing.