Jim R

A True Hero

The smell of the barn wafted up to my nostrils, distinctly reminding me of an Idaho farm. The strong scent of cows, potato farms and burnt weeds was evident. The high- pitched squeak of the wood floor made me wonder how long until the second level of this barn would fall through, all of us landing in the old, vacant and, according to the majority, nose- offending horse stalls. However, I was not among the vast majority. I happily took in the smell, the scenery and the memories that came along with it. There was no denying it, I loved everything about it.
There was something about the spacious upstairs barn that was enticing. As if it had a spell inside of it. An enchantment that seemed... almost sacred. With at least 100 of us all together, I wondered if anybody was having the same feeling as I.
Suddenly, brilliant sunlight overflowed into the barn. I looked toward the entrance, nearly blinding myself in the process. I noticed the camp leaders and councilors as they filed in, each with a warm smile on their face. Yet there was one particularly large and beautiful smile that I didn't recognize. This fellow was an older gentleman; with graying hair, broad shoulders, tan skin and calloused hands, he reminded me of my spud- growing Grandfather. His gaze turned to me, immediately catching my eyes with his. I noted that they were especially kind and sincere, giving me a total sense of trust. I slightly nodded my head, returning his smile.
The voice of the director of our session brought me out of the moment. "Welcome, everybody!" She was bubbling over with a contagiously enthusiastic excitement. "Find a seat and we'll get started."
We all settled into the provided folding chairs.
"Good." She continued. "I'd like to introduce you all to Jim Rhoades, a self-made millionaire, motivational speaker, and pretty much the greatest man you will ever meet!" We all clapped as it is a common courtesy, while Jim Rhoades graciously took the spotlight. That first moment he spoke you could have heard a pin drop. And to be frank, I was surprised at his ability to capture our attention. He spoke to our hearts, with his own heart. He spoke about the walls we as humans put up… What that means and how it effects every moment in our lives. How conversations, open discussions, are crucial. He talked about the adversary, how we create the existence of others by the things we do. I lean forward in my chair, resting my face in my hands. I reluctantly pull my eyes off of the fascinating man and cast my eyes around the full barn. Everybody was entirely engaged, not one distracted person! Everybody matters. Everybody has such a light, a passion, a strength within them and we are able to love them for it. No more judgmental thoughts. At that moment, in that barn filled with nobility and glory, stereotyping was non-existent. When you looked into the eyes of the people around you, you loved them. They are exquisite. When you look at someone’s clothes, their size, the way they talk, whatever it may be that makes you deem yourself of higher quality than them, you are the one who is incredibly at fault. The moment you oversee one's greatness, you pass up connecting with a momentarily unseen glory. And the moment you look justly into another's eyes, into their very soul, they are no longer an object to simply critique. They are your equal. They are gorgeous beings. You have never spoken to this person before, yet you love them. A love so strong, it could never, under any condition, break. The love is unselfish. The love is awakening. The love is right. This love is the best thing you have ever understood.
The love is love.
The desire to share this simulating emotion becomes paramount. Everybody needs to know about it. You feel such a strong desire to spread this feeling that no word could ever do justice to it. This message cannot be spread fast enough. But that doesn't discourage you. You feel like you can do anything; fact is, you can, there is no doubt. Your soul is whispering your worth; you do not deny or ignore that beginning of change inside of you. You are no longer the old you, embracing that new character you now embody. You listen through their eyes because they are sending you the motivating energy. They are there for you, and you are there for them. You survive off each others love and energy. This is just the beginning. But you have begun, and for that you are forever thankful.
A flame was ignited inside me; it was ignited inside of all of us… A flame that was already inside of me; but now is uncovering itself. It awakens a passion so strong- crushing all evil, a desire to do great things. As the discovery emerges, I learn something that never before had come to my comprehension. One being how much I cared about the people surrounding me. The profound fact that I would be willing to take a bullet for someone is a brand new revelation to me. It is a big step out of my comfort zone to realize this. And to mean it. All of us are overwhelming each other with love... I finally know what love really is… the perfect love.
What kind of a person saves a life for the fame? The glory? Why does the world view such a despicable person as a hero? No man truly means anything without heart and selflessness.
We ought to discover, as youth and as the future, just how important other lives are, what we are willing to live for, if there is something we are willing to die for and what cause is that important.
Tears gather in my eyes because souls are speaking to me. Reminding me of my worth. Encouraging; pleading with me to not forget. I speak to them. No words escape my trembling lips, but I know I am heard. I am proudly declaring a message louder than words ever could. These thoughts are frantically racing around in my head, trying to find their place. I clear the junk from inside my head, permanently making room for my new meditations. I sigh. The garbage is gone. I am a renewed me, fully aware of my thoughts and actions. I know what freedom tastes like. I am driven to be a better person, devouring in every greatness that falls before me. And I will fight for the things I know.
Now I know that all I have to do is decide what I will do with the time that has been given me.
I have been awakened. I am alive.
So, you ask, to be a hero must you be perfect? Save a life? Or is heroism just about saving ones’ life? Is a hero someone who rescues the town from doom and from the bad guy? Maybe...
But maybe an American hero simply inspires. Encourages. Lifts. Exemplifies. Knows you have an identical heroism inside of you; and desires to help you discover that part of you. There was only one Superman. But there is an infinite amount of true heroes. We have it inside all of us. You see, we hope for superpowers and little do we know that we were born with incredible, unbelievable superpowers. So uncover them. George Washington did. Harriet Tubman did. Fredrick Douglas did. Mother Teresa did. Jim Rhoades did. And you can too. Do it. Connect with your inner soul. Love others.
So, maybe, heroism isn't a physicality. I think it's a concept we find within ourselves.
I am pulled out of my new, intense thoughts momentarily as the whole room explodes in applause. This time it is not a courtesy applause. This is rejoicing. We are on our feet, striking our hands together with wild vigor. The endless praise is geared to Jim Rhoades, yet as I settle my eyes on this great man, I notice he is clapping too. Does he not understand we are clapping for him? Then I realize he is celebrating with us. He sees we have awakened. We clap for each other. We are all conquerors.
We walk away, amazed at our own majesty and greatness.
Thus, whether taking responsibility as an American citizen be a concept or a character trait a person has, I believe and embrace the inspiration that unlocked that American hero inside of me. And that hero will lead me closer to my greatest ambition of all.
And that is to change the world.
Look out.
I.AM.ALIVE.

Submitted by Anonymous


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