Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Community of Heroes

[Note: Scroll down to see the YouTube video and lyrics of Avril Lavigne's "Keep Holding On" with scenes from the movie Eragon.]

This is Shawn. He's my pal. Be good to him.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about how great it felt to take the time to shop around town for Christmas items that would really make a friend feel thought of. Well, my Christmas package traversed approximately 6,617 miles on a heading 285.5 degrees West by north then 234.0 degrees Southwest by west to a location 34 degrees 05' North latitude and 118 degrees 22' West longitude, arriving at Colonia in the Federated States of Micronesia on an island called Yap, just a few days after Christmas.

I happened to be chatting with Shawn online when the package got there. See him in the photo fabulously modeling and displaying the items. Once everyone saw the gourmet flavored coffee I sent, he hilariously reported , "i think everyone in the room just had an orgasm from the coffee".

Shawn is a Peace Corps volunteer there and teaches over 150 juniors at Yap High School (I call them the junior yapsters). He just arrived there this past fall and he'll be there for 2 years - that's until 2008! It's a challenge for him - teaching the kids, being in a different land, missing his family and friends, not participating in the holiday traditions in the ways that he's used to, longing for tangible and affirming fellowship - but he does his best and he's simplying trying to help. That's what makes him one of my heroes.

Don't worry, the pedestal isn't too high. He's a normal guy just like you and me. But that's the thing about heroes - they are just regular people who believe they can contribute to changing this world . . . .

It seems so lofty - for me to claim or cling to a vision of making a difference, some kind of difference. Who are we to be in the company of the icons of history - Martin Luther King Jr, Susan B. Anthony, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther, Jesus Himself. The history books are filled with people who affected such massive and significant change. Did they know? Did they realize at the time that they were about to contribute to an unstoppable wide scale movement that would lead to the reformation of our culture and society?

Perhaps the scope of such ramifications were kept manageable by containing such vision and passion into a precise purpose - equality, freedom.

When injustice is revealed and the cries and calls to God are made, the true heroes respond. They are the ones who stand in the gap willing to subject themselves to the persecution of the majority so that aid can be given to the outcasts, the oppressed, the helpless and the misunderstood. It is this kind of sacrifice that grants them the respect of history.

But it's a lonely place. The role of the visionary is to help others see what is not presently and physically in front of them. It is to offer hope and assurance that what could be will indeed be. And it's to rally the community to own such a vision so that they become the very heroes that they are crying out for.

Take off the glasses, Clark. You are superman.

I had been so discouraged lately - the past few months or so. I'd had enough of life to deal with and it seemed too big a task to attempt to change my world. But the spark of vision remains.

None of us can change the world alone. We need each other. We are a community of heroes simply trying to help in what ever way that we can. We battle the elements. We battle our insecurities. We battle the persecutors. We battle the very conditions that we are trying to change. And we get weary. But at our core lies our passion and vision. And that drives us forward to keep holding on, to keep pressing on, to keep moving on.

I am honored to be in the company of such heroes - Justin Lee, Peterson Toscano, Shawn, Justin Rudd, Becky 0, Ron Belgau, GCB, Journeyman, Angel, Abigail Garner, my buddy, Bryan, Christine, Jay, the countless at GCN, and so many many more! These are all people simply trying to help, people casting vision, people creating conversation, or people trying to figure themselves out - struggling to see the hero in the mirror.

There are times when we feel like no one gets us. Sometimes we don't even get ourselves. There are times when we are longing for home or even still searching for where home is. There are times when we are desperately wondering if any of this is worth it . . . is any of this making any kind of difference?

We are not alone. We understand each other. We encourage each other. We hold on to each other.

The following song is for us. If you happen to be on some island out there in the Pacific Ocean with the slowest internet connection on the planet, take the time to let the song load so that you can enjoy it with us!



"Keep Holding On" by Avril Lavigne from the movie Eragon.

You're not alone
Together we stand
I'll be by your side, you know I'll take your hand
When it gets cold
And it feels like the end
There's no place to go
You know I won't give in
No I won't give in

Keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through
Just stay strong
'Cause you know I'm here for you, I'm here for you
There's nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through

So far away
I wish you were here
Before it's too late, this could all disappear
Before the doors close
And it comes to an end
With you by my side I will fight and defend
I'll fight and defend
Yeah, yeah

Keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through
Just stay strong
'Cause you know I'm here for you, I'm here for you
There's nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through

Hear me when I say, when I say I believe
Nothing's gonna change, nothing's gonna change destiny
Whatever's meant to be will work out perfectly
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

La da da da
La da da da
La da da da da da da da da

Keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through
Just stay strong
'Cause you know I'm here for you, I'm here for you
There's nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through

Keep holding on
Keep holding on

There's nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through

7 comments:

Shawn Pendergrass said...

Your flattering applause is too much, friend. Putting me in the ranks of such great leaders as MLK and even Jesus himself? Those are some mighty big shoes to fill. If I can make a real difference in the life of only one person, I'll be satisfied.

Thank you again for your thoughtful support. Your encouragement is graciously received. The world needs more heros like you too, friend.

Stan said...

"They are the ones who stand in the gap willing to subject themselves to the persecution of the majority so that aid can be given to the outcasts, the oppressed, the helpless and the misunderstood."

Wow. Eric, you are incredible. Such an inspiration and encouragement. Keep pressing on, brother.

Stan

Anonymous said...

Eric-Wow, I am so honored and humbled to be called a hero. I needed some lifting up today...and there was your entry...

We will talk talk soon my friend...God is moving and stirring things in me...I am ready...

love ya

Becky O

Peterson Toscano said...

Eric, thank you for your continual affirmation. Your vision is so keen and inspired, I have no doubt that you will see many world changing things come from your dreams.

Anonymous said...

We battle our insecurities. We battle the persecutors. We battle the very conditions that we are trying to change.

It sounds like your doing a lot better. I like what you said above. I battle my persecutors with me being gay and christian and then I battle my own homophobias that I try to change in others. But when I can't change the homophobia in my self I cant change it in others. Keep posting

Stephanie

non-metaphysical stephen said...

Hey, great idea, sending Shawn that care package!

Steve & Warren said...

Our best wishes for a happy new year.