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a hero defined

July 10, 2009

Dictionary.com defines a hero as a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.  Over the last week and a half, I have had the opportunity to see everyday people emerge as heroes.  Some people fall apart in times of crisis, but I was surrounded by those whose noble qualities were overwhelmingly apparent as they rose to the occasion.

I was amazed by my sister’s friends who waited at the hospital all night praying as she underwent surgery.  Their selflessness continued through the next day, as many remained by her bedside, and continues still.  What makes this act of heroism even more profound is they never thought twice about it.  To them it wasn’t heroic; it was a natural reaction to a friend’s need, but to me and my family, it was a sign of each person’s superior character.

There were a few who stood out from the crowd: Chris D-, who followed his intuition to actually find Rosario in the hospital; Danny J-, who was at our beck and call during the hospital stay; my mom and dad, who were gracious, loving and hospitable even when in distress; Jeff E-, whose generosity was overwhelming; the folks at Act One, who set up an emergency fund for my uninsured missionary sister; and many others but then there is the main hero of the story: my sister, Rosario.

I know I said in an earlier post that my sister was in an accident.  She was, but the accident was caused by the deliberate actions of another person.  Through these actions, Rosario narrowly escaped death, and she found herself in a hospital bed dealing with the consequences of this person’s decisions.  The police and doctors who spoke with Rosario after the accident were impressed with her presence of mind and her exemplary courage.  I can’t tell you how many times we were told about her strength and bravery.  Hero check list: distinguished bravery – check!

Rosario endured excruciating pain with patience and gracefulness.  She was full of spunk even though she could barely move or talk.  I know she had her moments of frustration, but she embraced the cross.  Every time the hospital staff did anything for her, she graciously thanked them, even if they had caused her pain.  She was polite in her suffering and was a witness of God’s peace that surpasses all understanding to everyone who entered her room.  Hero check list: noble qualities – check!

When I received a phone call from the police that they had found the person who caused the accident, I called my dad to see how Rosario was handling the news.  “Rosario and I were just praying for the individual’s conversion and that God would protect them in jail,” he told me. Of course, we want the person to be brought to justice, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pray for his/her soul.  Those  calculated actions make no sense to us.  We don’t know what would drive someone to do what he/she did, but it  is obvious that this person needs our prayers.  And so my family has followed Rosario’s forgiving example and joined her in prayer for the person who very nearly took her life.  Hero check list: brave deeds – check-check!

I have seen Rosario and many others around her rely not on their strength but on God’s.  In their abandonment to self, the Lord gained victory in the midst of tragedy.  It comes so naturally to them because of the daily practice of surrendering to God, and the heroism of those every day decisions were illuminated in this time of crisis.

It was an honor to see true heroes emerge, especially to see those who are so close to me take on this role with grace and dignity.  I am more than grateful to have such amazing heroic examples in my life.  And I am honored to call the main hero of this story my beloved sister, Rosario.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Sherry permalink
    July 10, 2009 10:20 pm

    What a touching tribute to your sister! Very well written.

  2. Aunt Mary permalink
    July 13, 2009 12:04 pm

    Cecilia,

    Please include yourself amoung the list of heroes. I know your presence at your sister’s bedside in the hospital was a huge help to your sister, your parents and all your relatives and friends. Rosario is as lucky to have you as a sister as you are to have Rosario as a sister. You are both amazing!

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