We all need someone to show us the next step in complex life chapters. We may have heroes, people who have accomplished something we admire, but that seems so far out of our reach that all we can do is look from afar and appreciate their standing.
Exemplars are those who embody perfection for a group of us, the top of the class.
And then there are the mentors who are walking just one step ahead of us and whose footsteps we can readily follow through the storm.
The Olympics give us heroes. Their remarkable skill lifts us all as they demonstrate the strength of the human spirit, and the prowess lifelong focus can bring.
The Paralympics which will begin following the Olympics, is yet another example of heroes who have mastered their sport in the face of the adversity wrought by disability. The Paralympics were begun following WW2 as British and then Norwegian soldiers paralyzed with spinal cord injury began to compete in what has become a vast international movement. And yet, each of us needs to succeed at our humble level that may not be recognized or celebrated.
However, our striving may be in fields other than athletics. We may overcome the challenges in selfcare, inner dependent living, the arts, and even interpersonal relationships. In each of these and whatever else we long to accomplish, may we find the mentors who can gently guide, direct and support along the way.
One of my mentors was also a hero for many – the late Ed Roberts. When my severe and chronic pain required that I take the stress off my abdomen, I remember Ed’s reclining wheelchair. It was as easy for me to begin to use that wonderful device as if it had been looking at me as if to say, “What are you waiting for?” Look around and you may find in person or in memory the mentor who can help pull you toward your own victories worthy of praise.