My heroes had the heart
The Retune Blog - 20th October 2023
Do you have your own personal heroes? The people who you look to as something of an inspiration? I’ve got two heroes, and I’ve been able to see one of them twice. They are Sir Terry Waite, and William Booth.
For those of you who don’t know of them, humanitarian Terry Waite is a former special envoy who during the 1980’s travelled to the middle-east to negotiate the release of hostages until he was himself taken hostage in 1987 and held captive until 1991.
In 1865 in East London, the other, William Booth, abandoned the traditional concept of the church to become one of the co-founders of the Salvation Army alongside his wife Catherine. They adopted a practical approach to spirituality focused on serving and social transformation for some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in society. And like Terry Waite, William often put himself at risk in doing so.
The common feature in both my heroes is summed up in Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy:
My heroes had the heart to lose their lives out on the limb.
I wonder as I write if you can identify your heroes and if they also were people who risked their own security and comfort as a result of wanting to live an authentic life of integrity and meaning? I’m sure, like me, there will be something about your heroes which inspires and challenges you. They are people you aspire to be like, and represent something of which you might also be scared. Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy captures it with a beautiful glibness using the term fun:
And all I remember is thinking I want to be like them … Ever since I was little it looked like fun.
Yet, whilst fun is perhaps not the most accurate word, perhaps it is something of excitement. That the lives of our heroes seem exciting and purpose driven. They are people who are driven by their values and are willing to follow their vision no matter the cost.
As I think about this again this week, I’m challenged and inspired to once more bring myself back to the question, what do I want my life to be about? Returning over and over to this question always helps me to focus, and to remind myself that to live life well, there are risks we often have to take. To finish with the lyrics from our song:
I can die when I'm done … But maybe I'm crazy.