But no matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self; the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.”
— David Whyte
Recently, I received an email from SAND (Science and Nonduality), a community I belong to. The subject line was, “We See Clearer When Our Eyes Are Glistening With Tears”. I literally sat back in my chair and pondered that statement for several minutes. Well, actually, I did have tears in my eyes because of a recent incident concerning my husband’s health and that statement impacted me so greatly that I HAD to sit back in my chair. The truth is, I GOT IT! I understood exactly what that statement meant.
My husband and I have had a series of incidents over the past five years related to his health and after each one we have managed to emerge wiser, humble and more grateful than ever for our lives. This last incident was even more impactful for me. In fact, it even started out differently because this time, when it happened, I knew I couldn’t manage it alone. So, I immediately called one of our friends and simply said, “I need help”.
We have leaned on our friends before through these health challenges and they have always “shown up” in amazing ways. This time was different for me. This time, any illusion I’ve had of control just vanished. I didn’t have words, I only had emotion, my friend understood immediately and was at our home in 15 minutes. He didn’t leave my side until we were through the worst of the incident. He became my hero. And, other heroes and heroines arrived one by one until I felt a strength that I wouldn’t have felt without them. But, what does “you are my hero” really mean?
I’ve talked a lot about heroes, heroines, and the Hero’s Journey and I’m aware now that my personal journey continues with the incredible realization that heroes and heroines emerge when we allow ourselves to see them. Through my tears I was able to witness the incredible selflessness, compassion and honesty of these heroes that I call my friends. I now know that heroes are all around us, we just have to be open and vulnerable enough to “see” them. There really is such a thing as “everyday heroes”!
The week prior to this event, I had been doing some research on the characteristics of a hero in anticipation of sharing these characteristics, one by one, with each of you. I still intend to do that! In my research, I devoured hundreds of articles on the traits of a hero and came up with over 50 characteristics that showed up over and over. And, out of those 50, 10 emerged as the ones that were mentioned the most. They are:
I witnessed all of these incredible characteristics in my friends/heroes! I’m certain that they weren’t even aware that they possessed these or that they were showing up as heroes, but I know now that they were. Through the glistening of my tears, I saw and experienced it all!
I hope that each of you “see” the heroes in your own lives and allow them to “see” you as a hero/heroine. And, don’t forget to hold each other in deep connection and acknowledge them. It’s exactly what we need now; as we all face challenges in our lives and in our world.
I’d love to hear your stories about the heroes in your own life and the characteristics that they AND you both possess. Please share these stories and/or your thoughts in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blessings on your journey, Beverly