According to the Oxford Dictionary, a hero or heroine is a person who exhibits extraordinary bravery, firmness or greatness of soul in connection with any pursuit, work or enterprise. One who does brave or noble deeds.
Our society seems to value heroes and heroines who earn their status in a moment of valor. The lecturer who struggled with the armed student after having been shot twice. The person who ran into a blazing house to save a child.
We seldom define someone as heroic who has earned the status over a decade. How many moments in a decade?
In a newsletter sometime ago on my site I included…â€™A Poemâ€™. It was written by a true heroine, Maree Bourke-Calliss. Maree had a stroke on 5th May, 1994 and has been â€˜locked inâ€™ her own body since. She can blink… nothing else. Just imagine being struck down suddenly with a stroke and only being able to blink. Hearing, thinking, feeling but not being able to move or communicate verbally with others.
The story has moved since she published her poem. Maree spoke at the CPA Conference in Adelaide a couple of years ago. She has written her story slowly and laboriously by blinking her eyes. The story was spoken by my wife, Hilary, who is an actor, speaker and singer. Mareeâ€™s family were there from Quambatook and Queensland. She had been preparing for months to tell her story to assist others to truly value themselves and their lives.
Let me quote a paragraph from her story just in case you didn’t see this.
â€œBe clear about who you areâ€
You have to have a purpose for being, not just a purpose for doing. Even though I cannot do all those normal activities you associate with living such as walking and talking, I have a big reason for getting out of bed in the morning. I have a purpose that is about achieving, doing the impossible, and challenging myself to go that little bit further everyday. I donâ€™t wake up thinking about money or getting the car serviced or doing the grocery shopping or wishing that I had read that report on the weekend so work would be less pressure today â€“ thatâ€™s the doing stuff and you know youâ€™ll get to it sometime during the week.I wake up thinking about what will make a difference today, what I need to achieve, what I need to do to make this day worthwhile for those around me. Itâ€™s a waste of time and energy to act from a position of imprisonment. You must come from a position of resilience and learn to cope with everything thatâ€™s thrown at you. You know the saying â€œItâ€™s not what happens to you thatâ€™s important…itâ€™s what happens within youâ€. I am a worthwhile human being because I now know myself so much better and I love myself for who I am and not for how I look.
So, you have advice from someone who has earned the right to give advice by behaving heroically over ten years. Someone who was offered the choice of living or dying and embraced living. Maree lives a very full life with the ability to think and blink. Are you making the most of your life?