Here are some heroes who are in my life now, or have been in the past:
- my friend Susanna, who quit her job at a well-known law firm to work for an advocacy program that supports abused and neglected children. Oh, and to top it off, she took in four foster children--all under the age of seven. So now, instead of billing hours at the firm, she's taking her kids to the dentist, and teaching them how to pray, and loving on them. And that's being a hero.
- my friend Krisi. I don't know how you spent your last spring break--probably on the beach, right? Well, she spent hers in the hospital. By choice. Over spring break, she donated one of her kidneys to save someone else's life. She is a hero.
- one of my classmates, who pretty much every weekend can be found repainting someone's house, or mowing their lawn, or fixing their AC, just to serve them.
- my dear friend in college who, even while he was dying of cancer mere weeks before his 21st birthday, spoke openly and often of how his illness had brought him closer to God and strengthened his faith.
- a couple in my law school town who have become a lot like parents to me while I'm far away from home, and who fill in that same role for countless other people my age. They open their home all the time, they pretty much always have someone random living with them, and they give the best advice ever. They basically never have alone time--their house is always full of 20-somethings watching their TV, eating their food, having Bible studies, and swimming in their pool, and they never seem to mind.
- the teachers throughout the years who have invested in me tremendously and pushed me to get me to where I am today. Especially amazing teachers like my all-time favorite professor in college, who emailed me to tell me she was praying for me during a very difficult time during my senior year, and that she prayed I'd experience the peace that passes all understanding (this at my secular college, no less).
- A smart and classy young lady I knew in college, who used the terrible experience of a sexual assault as a preteen to fight tirelessly to get stricter laws passed to help eliminate that sort of crime.
- People like Haley, who I met last week when I went to a church event alone, feeling incredibly awkward. (No matter how old you are, walking in to certain gatherings by yourself, when you don't really know anyone, will never stop being awkward!) But she walked right up to me, started talking like she'd known me for years, and introduced me for the rest of the night to all her friends as "my friend Lauren."
Look for the heroes who live next door to you. They're everywhere. Honor one of them today.