In a way, it is unfortunate that we have to have heroes, but we have them and are grateful for them. There are many kinds of heroes and many are reluctant heroes.
There are heroes who are policemen and fireman who know that by their occupation, they place life and limb at risk. By doing their job, they may save lives and become heroes. In extreme cases, they may become severely injured in the process and may even loose their lives. Their spouses, children, parents and friends are aware of this and live with it knowing it is a noble cause. And if their risks result in loss of life or limb, they are honored, as they should be.
There are members of the military who are at risk. They may have enlisted or they may have been drafted in a time of national need. They do their sworn duty regardless of risk. Some go beyond the call of duty and become heroes, albeit reluctant heroes. Their spouses, children, parents and friends are aware of this and live with it knowing it is a noble cause. And if their risks result in loss of life or limb, they are honored, as they should be.
We also have the ordinary citizen who sees a need and without much thought of personal risk, does something heroic because there is a need and he can help. After the heroic act is done, they are instant heroes. And if their noble risk results in loss of life or limb, they are honored, as they should be.
Heroes put others above themselves, are selfless and are dedicated to a greater cause than themselves. They may be male or female, young or older, worldly or spiritual, but they have the common trait of being selfless in a time of someone else's need. We encourage and admire this virtue of character in people.
But what of a teen girl who due to either lust or a misguided set of values, becomes pregnant. Becoming a mother is inconvenient to say the least and very possibly disgraceful. An abortion would solve the problem. Is it unreasonable that we should look for heroic action here? She has the ability to save a life, if she puts that life first. That would be a heroic act of love.
What of the woman who is raped and becomes pregnant with a human life growing within her. She has the option to abort that life, whatever promise it may include but sustaining that life would be a heroic deed on her part.
What about the case of any unplanned pregnancy? Be it incestuous, be there a history of illness, economic problems, ... you name it. A baby would not be desirable, convenient, or practical. But would loss of a leg, arm, eyes, or life be practical to a fireman, policeman or member of the military? They take the risk, and they are our heroes. Could we not look to heroic action here too?
Some people believe that women should be completely selfish and certainly not heroic. They say that women can chose to put themselves first and disregard the life they have within them. I believe everyone has been asked by God to love their neighbor and "... what greater love is there than to give your life for your brother?" If selfish motives prevailed, ... would we have any heroes?
No matter how or why a pregnancy occurs, there is a new life. It holds the promise of greatness, mediocrity or failure but we can not pre-judge that life. It may be very short, or very long but we can not know what effect it will have on the world or ourselves. There may be great risk of what we would consider imperfection but who among us is perfect?
We are talking about monumental self sacrifice here, sometimes risk of life. We are looking at and expecting a woman to go through nine months of discomfort, pain, and loss of freedom. We are looking at the pain of giving birth. Under normal circumstances this is heroic. In other cases there is shame, blame, and fear. To endure this is truly heroic.
My mother is a hero to me. I was unplanned and very inconvenient. She saw the obstacles and gave me life in spite of them. After going through all that a pregnancy requires, she then offered me to a family that she knew would sustain and nurture that life. I love my (reluctant) hero.
The Mother who took me in is also a hero to me. She accepted someone unknown to her, clothed me when I was naked, fed me when I was hungry, cared for me when I was sick, held me when I was lonely, and loved me as her own.
I thank God for my heroes, the mother who gave me life and the mother who nurtured that life. I am doubly blessed.
Don (Grandpa) Plefka
The last paragraphs were edited on 5/8/06 djp