Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I Will Never Get Used To It

Joshland Note: I've written about this before, but something struck my heart recently that made me feel the need to write about it again. Sorry for being redundant...

Webster's dictionary defines a HERO or HEROINE as: a person admired for their achievements and noble qualities; one who shows great courage...

I understand the meaning and how easy it can be to place those virtues on a public figure, but often times we overlook the heroes we have right in front of our faces. I prefer the meaning of the song "My Hero" by the Foo Fighters.

"This song was written as a celebration of the common man and his extraordinary potential. Not the 'heroes' a lot of teenagers have nowadays and had then, that are people like rock stars, etc. you know, famous people" ~ Dave Grohl lead singer of the Foo Fighters

Please play this video of the acoustic version of "My Hero" by the Foo Fighters while you read this post or play it after you are done.



You see, I've been called a hero and an inspiration all my life. Hell, a few months ago I was called - in a "tongue in cheek", yet somewhat serious manner - the "Tom Cruise of the CF blogging world", which made my wife burst out laughing (who can blame her :-) and forced me to reply: "I'm certainly not Tom Cruise. He has more hair than I do and I don't jump up and down on couches...very often." Thank you for that Iowa CF Mommas. :-) You have a special place in Joshland.

I've never been very good at taking complements. I was talking to my friend Rose from "Breathe" (Ding!) the other day about how to handle all this praise (because she gets it the same response from her singing and from her giving heart) and she laughed while repeating the same words I often hear from my wife, family, and friends:

"You are a big time celebrity and hero in the CF world. Get used to it."

FYI: I WILL NEVER GET USED TO IT.

Your so-called hero/inspiration puts his pants on one leg at time. (Sometimes I do both legs at the same time if I'm in a hurry. Ooooh, I'm magical.) I spend my laundry day in Spongebob pajama pants until my regular clothes are ready to wear. I've locked myself out of the house a few times. Not to mention, I do the same kind of CF stuff that you do. All the meds, appointments, surgeries, and whatnot. I've been through my own journey. Cystic fibrosis is path filled with similarities, but it's always uncharted and always individual and unique. Don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

That doesn't make me a hero. That makes me a regular guy who tries really hard every day to be a good person and do the best I can with what I've got in my life. Here's another way to explain it...

There's a cute little story that's been told time and time again and has made its way across the internet, particularly the blogging world. It goes like this:

A little boy was taught by his parents that the key to life is happiness. When he was old enough to go to school, he and his classmates were given an assignment. The assignment was to write down what they wanted to be when they grew up. The little boy gleefully wrote three words:

"To be happy".

His teacher said the little boy didn't understand the assignment, to which little boy replied:

"You don't understand life."

What's my point? Hold your horses, I'm getting there. I'm just taking the scenic route. :-)

The other day I received an email from a Joshland reader. In it, this reader stated that they were an avid follower of my blog and that I give them encouragement through my posts. They also sent me a beautiful poem they wrote in tribute to a friend who passed away from CF.

Needless to say, I was touched by their honesty and their ability to share something so personal with me. As soon as I had a moment, I responded to the reader's email, thanking them for letting me into their world. I felt so honored and I tried to echo those feelings in my response.

I received an wonderful reply in return, which ended with these words:

"Thanks for writing back. To be honest...I didn't see that coming."

Puzzled, I wrote back and asked why they were surprised. They replied:

"I was surprised because I figured you got a lot of emails, and thought mine would just get lost in the shuffle."

That broke my heart.

Yes, sweet reader, I get a lot of emails from this blog. Requests to speak or meet up in person. Sometimes they're warm wishes, personal questions about CF topics, or just an occasional hello. You know what? You are all important to me. You readers are a big part of what makes me happy. I know how I would feel if I was in your position. If I took the time to write someone an email I would certainly hope they would at least take the time to read it and respond. It never ceases to amaze me when I get praised by someone, but it makes me feel so loved and let's me know I'm making people happy. That's how I want others to feel when they speak to me. I want them to feel loved, cared for, validated, respected because that's how I expect to be treated. Like a valued soul.

I want to be that little boy. I want to understand life. I want "to be happy" when I grow up. If I don't treat others the way I would want to be treated, then how can I ever expect to understand life? How can I ever expect to be truly happy?

For me the answer is simple...I can't. And I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would ever want to make others feel sad or guilty or unloved, but it happens every day and it breaks my heart. That's why I'm doubling my efforts to make sure I never make anyone who reads this blog feel that way. EVER. If I do, please, call me out on it, okay?

Oh, and don't forget to look to the people who are closest in your life as role models, heroes, and celebrities: Your family and your friends. A true hero is someone who will be with you no matter what. I can't think of any greater heroes in our lives than the ones we love the most.

To the CF Community: Call me whatever you want. A hero, inspiration, celebrity, whatever, but realize that whatever you call me you should call yourself too because you are my heroes, my inspiration, my celebrities. You work hard to stay healthy, you live your life, and you do the best you can with whatever crosses your path just like I do. You are amazing and I love you.

To my friends and family: I love you all so much. Thank you for supporting me and for being the heroes and inspiration in my life. I am blessed.

All of you are the people that the Foo Fighters sing about. You are "My Heroes". You are my "Tom Cruise". Not that you are Tom Cruise, especially the girls, but that you...nevermind. You get what I mean.

That could have went better. :-P

Peaceful and Heartfelt Things,

Josh

5 comments:

  1. Nice post, Tom. {giggle}

    You couldn't write a post like that and not expect me to comment now could you? All kidding aside, I get your point.

    But now get mine. And that is, most everybody has a hero. Which means, in the law of averages...that most everybody is one. It may not be what you want to be, what you expect to be (I was one last night, believe me! you'da called me one too had that been YOUR diaper), or what you think you should be but it is what it is.

    Got it, Tom?

    xo
    k.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're special :)
    Thank you for following my blog! I was so surprised! And then you post this! I was like "my goodness! A BLOGGER CELEBRITY FOLLOWING ME!?"
    How ironic!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Josh I love and respect you more every time I read your words. You have that wisdom that some people never find. Keep up the good work and continue showing love for all the CF kiddos that love you and Moganko so much!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have to admit to being one of your "fans". I felt honored the first time you responded to my e-mail and I was awestruck (giddy, even) when we talked on Skype. You are a great person and an inspiration. Thank you for being you! Give Moganko a hug from Olivia.

    ReplyDelete

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