Friday, June 3, 2011

Unsung Heroes

By Kerry Schafer

My Hero -

Oh wait - that's not right. Probably you were expecting something a little more like this:

Now that is very nice. But I think this is even more heroic:

I've got a special place in my heart for Samwise Gamgee. Frodo was brave, but I've always thought Sam was braver. Even though he wasn't chosen, and didn't really understand what he was getting into, he stuck with Frodo until the very end, battling impossible odds. That part of the story where Frodo and Sam crawl one painful step after another towards Mt. Doom is one of the most heroic journeys in all of literature. And when Sam finally picks Frodo up and carries him? My heart breaks.

One of my favorite quotes is this: "It is necessary to do right. It is not necessary to be happy." I can't remember who wrote it, so I can't give attribution - maybe somebody else can help me out with that.

A lot of people are on their own road to Mordor. Most of them aren't strong, sexy warriors like Aragorn. Just ordinary people, fighting invisible battles.

In my line of work, I've met people so depressed that just getting out of bed in the morning is a supreme act of courage. Still, many of them manage to get up every day, provide some sort of nourishment for their kids, maybe even get through a day of work. They don't get the employee of the year award. They aren't model parents. But they get the job done, and their fight against the darkness is every bit as real as Frodo's struggle against Sauron and the ring.

I know a woman who survived horrors of abuse as a child and still recoils from every touch. Even caresses from her children hurt her and trigger her PTSD, but she hugs them often because she knows it is what they need. She weeps in secret with guilt and grief that something wonderful and natural hurts her and feels so very wrong.

I know drug addicts and alcoholics, now clean and sober, who make the choice over and over, every day, to turn down a constant craving. I can't even say no to a cup of coffee or a piece of chocolate, and can't begin to imagine the strength it takes not only to quit, but to stay quit, day after day after day.

And then there are the people who live with constant, chronic pain. Sleep is disrupted, thought processes constantly distracted by a hurt that doesn't quit. And in spite of this, they raise families and write books and get things done.

Heroes. Every one.


  1. Lovely piece, Kerry - and so true! This resonates for me with what I said about my mom. Sometimes just choosing to live and make the best of your life is the most heroic thing possible.

  2. ~clapping~

    Wonderful post and a great reminder appreciate even the small things.

  3. Jeffe - I have a sneaking suspicion it's easier to do some heroic last stand kind of thing, than it is to live your life well on a daily basis.

    KAK - thank you, ma'am.

    B.E. - thanks for saying so. : )

  4. Fabulous post - reminding us that everyone has their own Mordor, which is often invisible and unknown to those around us.

  5. ooh, Laura - that line just gave me shivers