On Calls to Heroism
As usual, on the week of the birth anniversary of the former Senator Ninoy Aquino, we have been busy due to numerous events and projects that commemorate and promote his legacy. I try now to stop on the eve of his eightieth birth anniversary and make sense of all the work that we have put in and what it means for other people.
Firstly, I realize that Ninoy’s call to heroism was something special, albeit unique. His was the dramatic type, borderline telenovela and cinematic. From the best presidentiable to state prisoner to dying on the tarmac were really for the big screen. His heroism story is truly exciting, emotive and energetic.
However, not everyone would have a call as theatrical as Ninoy’s. Most people would experience their call to heroism to everyday whispers, silent & small taps on the back, unassuming invites to transcendence.
My Dad is one. (See previous post.) His call was to serve in one company for thirty five years.
I’ve had teachers and friends who have chosen the vocation of education and have been teaching for fifteen, twenty or thirty years. I just met with human rights lawyers who chose to work with the marginalized instead of lucrative careers in the industries. I have a young leader who commutes to work four hours everyday to be able to do service for Mindanao.
There are others who walk for hours just to serve their communities in the regions. Others ride boats to reach communities in the islets.
They won’t be able to have monuments. Their stories won’t be written in books. Their dedication won’t be acknowledged until they retire. Yet, they have responded to their own calls to heroism.
What Ninoy did was selfless (even crazy during that time) – telling his story to the next generation will surely inspire others to give themselves for a greater cause. Yet, I suspect, that with every Ninoy born, there are hundreds of heroes out there doing the work silently, with no fanfare.
The invitation for the non-Ninoys is to be sensitive to that pinches of call to serve & self-sacrifice. The work that is ought to do is also important because measuring heroism is not with the amount of spectacle & flare, but with the quality of impact that is providing the community.
27 November 2012 | Antipolo, the Philippines