Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. John 15:12-13 (The Message)
In our community today was “Salute to Heroes Day”. I expect it was the same around the country. There were ceremonies at the law enforcement and 9-11 memorials, a parade of police and rescue vehicles over the bridge that crosses our river, and a luncheon to honor first responders. The day was more poignant for me than ever before because my son will be one of them next year. In addition to being grateful for those heroes who put their lives on the line to keep our community safe and healthy each day, I have been thinking about another kind of hero. Ones you don’t think about in the same way as police officers and firemen, but heroes none the less. Here are some I would like to salute today:
Spouses, parents, sibling, children, friends who stick it out in support of someone with a life threatening illness. Who go to the hospital, send funny cards, help buy wigs after cancer treatments, bring food and flowers, grip the hand to ease the pain, pray, hold the slop bucket after chemo, do the research, reassure and do all the things that encourage and motivate their loved ones to stick it out.
People, who despite their grief, donate the organs of their loved one so someone else might live.
Anyone who takes in a child in need of a home whether temporary or permanent. Who squeezes an extra bed in the room, clears out some dresser drawers, buys the school supplies and spare clothes, and paces the floor at night worrying over someone else’s child who is now their own.
Teachers who still teach despite pay cuts and abusive parents and comb their classroom for just one sign of a spark of life. Who give second chances on assignments, make up extra credit, write letters of recommendation and knock a few head’s together when necessary to get what it takes to educate the masses and those special few who finally get it.
Church nursery workers who could so easily slip into worship service, sing grown up hymns and soak up the sermon, but choose to teach a preschooler Jesus Loves Me, applaud as a baby learns to crawl, give a bottle, dispense a snack, change a diaper all so mama and daddy can go to church instead.
Volunteers who lead the field trips, run the PTA, rock the preemies in the neo natal unit, preserve the history, cheer the hospital patient, deliver meals, clean up the beach, raise the funds and take in homeless dogs and cats.
Missionaries who leave their homes to travel to foreign lands, giving up comforts many of us consider rights to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
If you find yourself on this list, I salute you for you are a hero. You put your life on the line, even a part of your life to help someone else. You give up your dreams so another person’s might come true. That’s the greatest way to love.