My Heroes

The list of people I admire has changed. There are some names on that list you might be familiar with, but there are an increasing number who have escaped the hindrances of fame. Look-at-me people with great causes but shrill voices, are not making it onto the updated page. Obsequious, but prickly doormats remain where they dropped, still promoting and protesting victimhood in creative, but wearing passive/aggressive fashion. My current list is different than the list of approved heroes of my youth.

I admire strong but humble people, those who can both give and accept help, praise, and honour. I admire those who, enabled by God’s grace, can face their own weaknesses squarely, recognizing that the choice to act without grace is always there. Experience has taught them this. They have scars.

I appreciate those who can walk open-eyed into a mess with the vision of shalom peace, nothing missing, nothing out of place, and do it with cheerfulness. They smile before their tears have dried. Hope makes them fearless.

I am learning to listen to those who through consistent practice of the kind of risk-taking that faith requires, have gained an understanding of who to seek as their source of wisdom. They have a friendship with God that astounds me. They carry the scent of someone who has been in his presence.

I am amazed by people who are still stinging from a tongue-lashing yet respond with kindness on their own tongues. It’s not that they can’t come up with a witty but cruel response. Defensive words are probably still the first weapons to appear, but they know how to lay down Saul’s armour and go into the cache of weapons God designed for just such moments. Their weapons bear the characteristics of the Holy Spirit. They know how to wield patience and goodness. Power wrapped in soft gentleness makes it easier to hear their words of wisdom.

When I was young, I wanted to be like the famous people who had gifts and charms they had never earned, like beauty, and intelligence, status, and talent. I admired those who led their followers on to greater exploits. Now, when I grow up, I want to be like those heroes who lead from behind, who say with kindness, “I can see who you are becoming. Your own methods have given you some problems. Get back up. Keep your eyes on Jesus. You can do it. He’s calling to walk with him. He absolutely adores you, you know.”

She Smiles at the Future


hayfield near bar u ranch

Strength and dignity are her clothing,

And she smiles at the future.

(Proverbs 31:25)

Can I be honest? For many years if I were to be asked who my least favourite Bible character was, it would have been that impossible “excellent wife” of Proverbs 31. She runs a perfect household, makes clothing for her family and half the town; she weaves her own bed linen, dabbles in real estate and farming and still has time to exercise and watch her husband collect accolades. It says she never let her lamp go out at night. Well, she’d have to stay up all night with a workload like that. At the time, when I was in a place where this scripture was used like a trudgeon by workaholic “ladies’ teachers” (the modern equivalent of Pinterest super-achievers) who said we could do it all if we were organized and disciplined enough, I was lucky if my kids’ socks matched and we could arrive anywhere within the same hour an event was scheduled to begin.

Finally one day, an older woman (with the teaching of kindness on her tongue) laughed at me when I went on a rant about the dreaded Proverbs 31 woman.

“She didn’t do it all in one day, dear! That was a life-time achievement award kind of speech. Relax. If God grants you health, life is not over when the kids go to college.”

Now that my children are grown I understand better. Those years with little ones and acting out teenagers seemed like they would always be my whole life. They were important years, and I beg young mothers to realize they go so fast and children can’t wait until you have time for them. They do come to an end (and I cried when they did).  You don’t have to accomplish your life’s work before you are 45. You don’t have to do everything on the same day, or even in the same decade! Leave something to look forward to. Relax once in a while. Take time to enjoy your life where it is right now. Be thankful for matched socks.

I have the time and freedom to pursue creative interests now. Instead of depression and exhaustion there is gladness because I am old enough to see how God delivered us from so many cliff-hanger episodes before. I can smile at the future.

And my light doesn’t go out at night -so I can find the bathroom.

IMG_5459 foot bridge leaves

IMG_5291  old walk