Our modern-day heroes are not garbed in national flags, capes or bullet proof vests. Nor are they immortalized in cinema as the great defenders of rights, freedoms, the law or moral outrage.
Our modern-day heroes are dressed in scrubs, blue jeans, overalls, ball caps, the same clothes as the rest of us, just add face masks and protective gloves. They are our neighbours, our friends, our families, our fellow employees and they are our heroes simply because they care about us. They care enough to put their health and the health of their own families on the line just to do their normal jobs and administer to our basic needs.
With this pandemic, administering health care, working in the food supply industry, or supplying any essential services has become more dangerous. Even a face-to-face chat with the neighbours across the back fence holds mutual suspicions of cross-contamination. Definitely no touching, hugging, shaking hands or kissing.
The entire world has suddenly been thrust into a new reality. The initial shock is wearing off. As the casualty rate grows so does the level of human resilience to acceptance of the permanent changes of this new reality.
In this new reality the heroes are not super human, not action figures to be marketed as entertainment, not make believe or digital. They live among us. They deliver our meals on wheels, they take our cash at the till, they take the time to check on the neighbours, they are inspired by devotion to serve their fellow man and as recipients of those many services, their fellow man is devoted to them in love and appreciation for their courage. Our courage, for we are all in this together. We are all remembering and honouring our respect for life, not just our own lives.
COVID-19 has brought a greatness out in us, a stature we’ve always understood as human nature has now been reemphasized to the hero designation it has always deserved. Moral gratification is human nature’s ample, often only, reward for generosity. Generosity is displayed in love for family, for community, for those you don’t even know that are suffering because of the associated traumas of any natural calamity. Unselfish generosity has brought out a compassion in us that has been sadly diminishing in our mad rush through life searching for some evasive semblance of lasting security that has faded like a mirage exposing the true unfertile desert of debt servitude.
Generosity is recognized as heroism by the recipients of the kindness. The internal moral reward of unusual kindness lifts the givers’ conciseness into recognition of their own heroistic comforts, even when those actions are offered in a humble way with no arrogance attached or reward anticipated. The pandemic has given us the opportunity to recognize our real, modern day, heroes and they are us.
Congratulations, XXXX and OOOO.