A Tribute to the Real Heroes

(If this is only semi-incoherent, it’s because my thoughts are sort of jumbled and I have so much to say, but not the talent to say it. I wish I could pay adequate tribute to my hero, but hopefully the message comes through clear.)

Heroes don’t wear capes. They don’t hide behind pieces of metal. They don’t wield magical hammers. They don’t have all the answers. They’re not fearless. They’re often not sexy-beasts-of-muscle. They don’t fight villains.

They fight people making the wrong choices – choices that can affect the world in a negative way.

They are normal human beings until they decide they want more. They’re normal until they realize that the future is in every individual’s hands. They’re just like us. But they choose selflessness. They choose possible death because life is nothing without the freedoms they fight for.

October 7, 1917 – October 14, 2014.

My great-grandfather died the other night. I’d only met him a few times since he lived up north and I down in the south, but have been quite fond of him. I remember the telephone calls, the couple of weeks we spent up in New Hampshire cabins with him several years ago, lunch at

Young’s, his cat (Pudder), and the way he would end his calls with, “God bless each and all of you.”

Lt. Col. Charles E. McLean was a World War II and Korean veteran. But I knew him as Grampy Mac, the great-grandfather who fought for my country. Who fought for me before I was born. Who would say, “Semper Fidelis” which means “always faithful” in Latin. He would tell the hour by military time. He asked me on the phone once, “What time would it be at thirteen hundred hours?”

I think we all owe that man so much more than we could ever give. He was an active member of society up until his death. He was proud of his service to our country and when he spoke, he commanded the room. Mac Mclean was very opinionated (and he had a right to those opinions, mind you – he risked his life for ours), stood by his values, and contributed to a society that has nearly forgotten that WWII even happened.

At 97, he still hadn’t lost his sense of humor. At lunch last year, he would say, “I should be dead. But, hey, the Good Lord’s kept me here for some reason.” Or something along those lines. 😉

One of the things I admire about him is his absolute selflessness. Even though he suffered from Alzheimer’s (which was the cause of his death), he continuously gave himself to the community. He’d allow college students to board with him, met with members of society on Tuesdays for lunch (and would invite people he’d just met to attend with him), and didn’t mind sharing his history, knowledge, faith, or opinions.

Now, I’d like to share a story with you. It’s one of my favorites. And this actually happened!

In Mac’s words, “From the nearby village appeared an elder carrying a basket of apples. His tall stove like top hat defined his status. I bowed gratefully, accepted the fruit, and he returned to the village.

A young man then appeared saying, “Me Jap, Me Jap,” I started to walk downstream with him walking next to me about 20 yards away. We had covered about a quarter of a mile when a hail of bullets, with the Doppler effect of tumbling ammo surrounding us, came our way. I concluded they were not leaning on their weapons. Thank goodness their aim was very poor.” It was a North Korean Rifle Company of about 150 men.

As I began walking directly to them, the firing ceased, I picked out the commanding officer, walked up to him, came to attention saluted and shook his hand. I then reached into my uniform and withdrew ten packs of cigarettes, ten Hershey bars and began distributing them to the Commanding officer and the soldiers. Amid big smiles and a relaxed situation, I then again, saluted, shook hands, and continued on my way expecting at any moment to be fired upon, shot in the back and be killed. They didn’t shoot nor did they follow. I continued to walk and eventually met up with and joined some South Korean troops and safety.”

My great-grandpa was pretty darn cool. ^_^ And to make him even more admirable, he won’t have a funeral. He’ll be having a celebration of life ceremony (?) instead. Doesn’t get more selfless than that.

Please, if you’d like to know more about him, click here and here. Our soldiers deserve so much more than we give them. I pray for their safety and peace of mind. May God bless them and their families.

R.I.P., Grampy Mac. ❤ Thank you for setting such a positive example in a world that disrespects most the ones who deserve the most respect. Thank you for your decision to protect the greatest country in the world. Thank you for fighting the enemies of justice, morality, and basic goodness.

Semper fi.

Rana

The Maze Runner: A Review

Hey, you!

Just a heads-up: this post may or may not contain spoilers concerning the film, The Maze Runner. You have been warned. 😉

Disclaimer: I didn’t finish the book before I saw the movie. I know! I’m such a loser. *hides face in shame*

My dad took my sister and myself to see The Maze Runner last night. I really, thoroughly, enjoyed it. There were several parallels between the film and our lives that I noticed throughout the screening. To me, it was sort of a wake up call and a shot of hope. Let’s take a look at a few different scenes and what I took away from them, shall we?

The Elevator

My dad actually pointed this out. He said that he found The Elevator sort of represented life and death. Before we were born, we came from another place. We don’t remember it (praise the Lord). We know nothing about this strange new world and we’ve got to make the best of it. As for death, if you’re religious, you believe you go to another place when life here is over. It, too, will be a strange new place.

Thomas’ Curiosity:

This section can be split into two parts:

1) We can either live or we can exist. Most of those boys in the Glade were content to be there. They were comfortable (and afraid of angering the Grievers which kept them from making any risky moves).

But then Thomas came. He wanted out. He was scared and uncomfortable, but he was willing to risk a lot to actually live while the others were simply existing. Thomas showed them a new way of life.

And I think a lot of us are those other boys. We’re comfortable. We go to school, we do our work, we hang out. That’s it. Shouldn’t we be living for so much more? If that’s all there is to life, then it’s worthless. But I think there’s more. I have to believe there’s more. If there wasn’t, then why the heck have we been surviving all this time? For Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? I think not.

Humans are survivors. We find a way to live. We always make it.

Thomas shows us that there is more to life than just existing. I want that. I want to be the Thomas in a world of goodhearted but merely existential Albys, Newts, Minhos, and Chucks.

2) The second point here is that it’s always good to get a fresh perspective on something. Minho and Alby – they thought they knew every inch of the Maze and the Glade. But Thomas came with a new idea. He wasn’t going to be held back by fear. He knew who the enemy was and he fought them.

The Grievers: Our Daily Demons

           I think the Grievers can be interchanged with our personal demons. Society? The kids at school? Now, I’m not saying go get them squashed in whatever metaphorical maze you’ve got going on in your head. 😉 I’m saying that it’s okay to disagree and think for yourself.

Society’s screwed up. It’s obsessed with fake. Show them something real.

Are you faking it for the kids at school? Why? Are what they stand for worthy enough for you to not be who you are? I’ve fallen into that trap. I used to hate myself because I wasn’t like the kids at school (and then I started homeschooling and, suddenly, the students were all too similar). Nothing I did was cool enough, funny enough. Nothing I wore met their ridiculously low standards (“You don’t know what Limited Too is??? You must be so sheltered!”). None of the shows I watched were good enough for their tastes (“You don’t watch Hannah Montana? Does your mom even let you watch T.V.?”). I wasn’t skinny. My hair wasn’t cut like theirs. I didn’t eat white bread with no crusts.

I didn’t eat white bread with no crusts.

How petty was I?

It Doesn’t Matter What We Did Before…

…it matters what we do now. People change, learn, and they move on. Be the best version of yourself, baby. The world needs it.

Chuck is Your Little Sibling/Cousin/Niece/Nephew…

Chuck, I think, represents the kids of today. Who do they look up to? Us. What are we showing them?

All you have to do is starve yourself to be cool.

All you have to do is eat white bread (when you eat).

All you have to do is wear Abercrombie & Fitch.

All you have to do is not be single (because you have no identity if someone else isn’t constantly defining you).

All you have to do is be addicted to [fill in the blank].

All you have to do is listen to everything everyone else is listening to.

All you have to do is rebel against your parents because they’re stupid and know nothing.

All you have to do is be the popular kid in school.

All  you have to do is swear up a storm because you’re not mature if you think for yourself and choose not to go with the flow.

All you have to do is be diagnosed with some “cool” disorder. When did depression become cool? When did a lack of hope become cool? When did no reason to live become cool?

Is that what we’re showing Chuck? If so, what’s he got to live for, hm? Nothing on that list gives me hope.

“Cool” is such a subjective concept. If that’s what standard you’re holding your life to, I’m sorry. Chuck knew only what the other boys told him. How much hope do you think they really had of getting out? If they were smart, I doubt if they had any. Thomas gave them hope.

Conclusion

You don’t have to risk your life to be a hero like Thomas. All you have to do is think for yourself and do what you believe to be right because the rest of the world is screaming lies at you, darling. And when the truth is only a little whisper, we need to listen hard. But the more Thomases we have, the easier it is to know the difference.

If you saw the film, what did you think? Do you agree with my thoughts? Any I looked over? I’d love to hear about it in the comments, lovely!

God bless!

Rana

Heroes Aren’t All That Super

A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.

Yep, I was watching Batman again. Surprise! I finished The Dark Knight Rises last night about 10:30 ish. I hadn’t been paying attention the first time when I watched it several months ago, so didn’t think it was all that great. But then I watched it again and wanted to push replay.

But I want to focus on the quote above. “A hero can be anyone.” Why does the world think we need some man or woman in a mask and cape to save us? We don’t. We need the broken to stand up and be beautiful so others know that they can rise to that level no matter how many pieces have been chiseled away.

I think people are like blocks of stone. We crack. We break. Pieces fall off. But I think God allows those things to happen so that we can be His beautiful sculpture in the end. Regardless of your religious beliefs, you would probably agree with me that hard things make people better.

We step out of our comfort zones to grow.

Recently (I think the last year or so), I’ve decided to start complimenting random strangers. You wouldn’t believe how amazing it makes me feel and sometimes they’ll let you know how much of an impact those kind words had on them.

> Hey, that shirt looks great on you!

> Oh, my gosh, that color really goes well with your skin tone.

> Not to be a total creeper, but you are flipping gorgeous.

> Hey, um, I just wanted to let you know that I think you are so pretty — not to be a weirdo or anything.

> You have such a lovely personality! I feel like you’d be a fun person to have as a friend.

> You have such a nice face. I just had to let you know.

> Your eyes are so pretty!

Most of the time, people just smile, laugh, and say thanks or maybe they don’t care. But sometimes, they’ll just kind of laugh quietly and stare at you, touched. Then they’ll say, “I needed that so much right now. Thank you.” Or, “Aw, that made my day!”

And that’s one of the most rewarding experiences ever. It makes me so happy inside.

It makes me wonder if I was their personal Batman, you know? Maybe I was their hero for that day, that moment. Maybe later in their lives, they’ll look back and be happy again because of those kind words. Maybe I gave them hope. Not all the teenagers these days are thugs. 😛

It doesn’t take much to take two steps to the side or go running down an aisle, chase down some random customer, and tell them you think they’re gorgeous. Just a few seconds of courage and adrenaline (although the latter is optional). And who cares what they think of you? You did your part.

Batman wasn’t always loved for the good things he did. People believed lies about him and that’s okay. He did the right thing. He did what he had to do. Whether the citizens cared or not, loved him or not, believed him or not, he was their hero. Also, keep in mind that Batman wasn’t perfect. He made mistakes. But he learned from them and grew. It’s the same with all superheroes. Except Superman. Superman’s perfect. *cringe*

Go out and be someone’s hero today. Help someone across the street, do the dishes for your mom (or give Alfred the day off 😉 ), compliment a stranger.

Go ahead. Be a hero. Ditch the mask and cape. We’ve already got enough of them. Being a hero is doing the small, good things in life. You don’t need to change the whole world to be one.

God bless!

Rana