What is the recipe for a hero?
1 cup of dashing good looks
¼ cup of milk of magnificence
1 heaping tablespoon of moral fortitude (add more for a stronger dough)
Mix well and wrap in a thick layer of bullet proof cloth. Toss in the fire and cook for 10-20 years to develop spirit (and consequently backstory).
Dress to taste.
It is fun to think about making our own super heroes from a recipe, but what really goes into making a hero? I believe one of the foundational building blocks of any hero (real or imagined) is spirit. Not just any spirit, you understand, but an unbreakable spirit. One that experiences difficulty, but simply will not be overcome. Let’s consider a few examples.
I had a chance recently to watch "Captain Marvel" with two of my sisters. I truly enjoyed the film, and I recommend that you see it if you like superhero films in general. The screen play was well written and the characters are likable even if the rhythm of the movie is a little rough around the edges. The thing that stuck out most to me was the character development of Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel). Throughout the film, she has many flashbacks to events in her past that seem to her to be failures. However, as her memory comes back to her, she realizes that it wasn't the mistakes that made her who she was. It was her ability to stand up afterwards and determine to overcome her own weakness. She recognized her weaknesses, accepted their existence with humility, and overcame them with determination and spirit!
One of my favorite childhood Bible stories is that of the life of David. He was a man who had very humble beginnings and rose by determination and God's blessing to the status of Israel's greatest king. He was small and insignificant, but he understood that God could and would use a willing servant. He strove to become excellent at all that he did, despite how small the tasks seemed. He became an excellent musician despite being stuck in a field all day. He became a great military leader despite being banished from his home country at a young age. He endured many failures throughout his life, and yet he is still known today as the greatest king of Israel save God Himself.
Now you must be wondering what Louis L'Amour had to do with all this hero talk. L'Amour was a prolific writer in the genre of western fiction. I grew up reading his stories of hard times and hard men. I believe that, while they were certainly never perfect, many of his leading characters displayed heroism in a simple, down to earth way. His characters often said two things which seem to fit the M.O. of both David and Captain Marvel. "No one ever taught me to quit" and "I had it in me to do". These men were simple and often poor. They weren't "great men", but they were absolutely heroes.
The things that all these characters from legend and history have in common are weakness and an indomitable spirit with which to overcome it. They realized their shortcomings, and continued to do what they knew was right despite those shortcomings. Beginning when they were young, until their peak, they chose to overcome that which seemed to be failure. They didn't deny their weakness or the seemingly insurmountable odds against them, they simply chose to NEVER QUIT! This, I believe is one of the great foundations of heroism and it begins with little choices we make every day. Integrity is simply repeating the choice to do the right thing in all circumstances. Indomitable spirit is the determination that you will not quit or be broken no matter how hard the battle. Together, these characteristics make the outline of a great hero.
I challenge you today to start drawing your own hero outline. The Bible says "he who is faithful in a very little thing, is faithful also in much." (Luke 16:10a NASB) Take the opportunity to practice the foundations of heroism in even the smallest task today, and one day, you may have the chance to truly be a hero for someone else.